Monday, January 31, 2011

duchess bake shop macarons


my absolute favourites from this batch were the banana chocolate, salted caramel, and coconut
I'm so thankful I got enough for both of us. I was able to nibble tiny sections off of mine all night.

if you're ever in Edmonton, get your own right here
and check them out on facebook

Sunday, January 30, 2011

menu for two

{the menu}
monday : gyro, pita, tzatziki, and greek salad
wednesday: sweet spicy BBQ ribs and coleslaw (recipe halved)
thursday: grilled cheese
friday: honey mustard chicken and salad
saturday: fireplace meat with all the greek fixin's
sunday: taco salad

what really happened

{monday} This is probably the closest we've come to having gyro at home. It's a really easy recipe and I especially like that there are enough leftovers to get at least three more gyro meals out of it. Monday was a busy cooking day for me as I had to make pitas, I had to mix all the meats for the gyro and precook it, plus I had to make tzatziki. Usually it's not so haggard because I'll have the pita and tzatziki on hand before I decide to make gyro, then all I really have to do is the meat part which is fine cuz I can make it ahead of time and pop them in the oven for a few minutes before dinner. It was entirely my fault for scheduling it when I didn't have the other important sides, but I did it so it would force me to finally turn the strained yogurt (that had been in my fridge for almost a week) into tzatziki. Next time we have this it'll be simpler.
{tuesday} I started making this as directed, honest, but as soon as the tomatoes went in the skillet, I didn't think there'd be any way the rest of the ingredients would fit. So I changed it to a vegetable lasagna (in a baking pan) by slicing the leftover acorn squash and sweet potato really thinly on a mandolin and adding them as layers to the lasagna noodles. On hindsight, I should have put the sweet potato slices on the bottom of the dish and the squash on the top so their juice would soak down and help cook the potatos. After an hour, the potatoes were still a touch crunchy and they were (oddly) the only thing Idle Husband complained about. I thought he'd notice the squash right away but that didn't phase him at all.
{wednesday} So I was literally doing nothing, hanging this stupid garland, and somehow I pinched a nerve in my back, almost blacked out, and then spent the rest of the day in bed (I think my sink was full of water with the dishes I was washing pre-accident until Thursday evening). So Idle Husband picked up some french fries and he made store-bought chicken fingers (er, store-free. I just happened to spend over the specified amount the last time I went grocery shopping, so they gave me a family-sized box of them for free -- I would never buy these premade, mine are better; and honestly, I was just a little annoyed I even had to stop what I was doing and go back through the store to find them, free or not) and we ate dinner in bed. Good times.
{thursday} Because of Wednesday, I deleted grilled cheese day and the ribs took its place. I'd much rather have ribs. Besides, Idle Husband stayed home from work to take care of me, so I had him make them instead (everybody together now, awwww!). I don't make this recipe as directed anymore. The full cup of brown sugar is highly unnecessary and creates a huge smokey fire hazard (I also don't have a clue as to what ribs I'm buying or how closely matching the amount is to what the recipe calls for. That could be why the sugar was burning all to hell the first time I made it). Instead I use about a 1/4 cup or less and use my own judgement for the spices. I also only cook it at the high temperature for 30 minutes, flipping them over after 15 minutes instead. Then I carry on as instructed, although sometimes they're done before the second hour is completely up. I also think ribs taste better when they're with something cool and creamy so I'll usually do a one potato salad, but I still had almost a full head of cabbage so I decided to do slaw instead. I cut the slaw recipe in half and then I halve the miracle whip and the sugar again. I don't like it that creamy and I almost never have the motivation to measure out chopped cabbage anyway.
{friday} This was an easy recipe to put together but it didn't taste like honey or mustard, it tasted mosty like tomato. I also cooked it in the toaster oven instead of on a grill. It was nice to do something different with chicken breasts, though. We also had plain rice as I anticipated having more sauce from the chicken, but there wasn't much to be used for that. It always annoys me when recipes call for a measly tablespoon of tomato paste for some inane reason. We don't have tomato paste in a tube. I might have seen it once and swooned over it, but I couldn't justify the cost in comparison to the tiny cans. Normally, I'll just avoid recipes like this, but I decided to freeze teaspoon sized dollups of the leftover paste on a cookie sheet so I'd have it all ready to use in other recipes later. Another handy hint, if you are opening a can of tomato paste, open both ends then push the lid into the can from one end, pushing the tomato paste out the other. It's a lot cleaner and I can usually get almost all the paste out at one time.
{saturday} Fireplace meat is so easy and so delicious. I could easily get away with making double this amount and we would be able to eat all of it. But I try to keep portions down as much as possible otherwise we'd definitely end up stuffing ourselves silly, and I'd rather be a little empty than too full.
{sunday} I promised Idle Husband I would never try to trick him into eating beans and if beans were supposed to be in the dish, I'd omit them and put them in a seperate bowl just for me. Since then, he'll actually eat anything I make that sounds even vaguely mexican. He lived in the states for a while so any mexican sounding dishes are immediately associated with beans. When I think of tacos, I think of spicy ground beef, maybe some onion and garlic, and that's it. I'm not a huge fan of beans on their own and I'm especially not a fan of refried beans. So my tacos only consist of ground beef, sauted onion and garlic, and some spice (yes, the packaged type. We also don't eat mexican food all that often, so I don't keep any of the proper spices stocked). I don't usually bother with a shell or wrap and just pile it all on top of a salad, but sometimes I crave a flour tortilla. I've made my own tortillas before, but I just didn't find it worth the effort. IH doesn't like them and when I'm the only one eating them, and very occasionally at that, I don't feel like bothering myself with it. I shouldn't be eating tortillas anyway, so when I do want them, I'll just buy the small ones for myself as a treat (I think I get a craving for these exactly once a year). I'm also making the meat even spicier than I would for myself as Idle Husband has really developed a taste for extreme heat. To make it more enjoyable for me, I cool mine off with some plain yogurt. I know most people would probably think sour cream for this, and that's fine and all, but if I purchased a tub of sour cream, I'd use a few dollups of it and it would just sit in the fridge and rot if I didn't go searching for recipes that specifically called for it. In my opinion, plain yogurt's just more versatile than sour cream. I can get a bigger bang for my buck if I keep yogurt stocked in my fridge instead since it can be used for more dishes either sweet -- if you have a baking recipe that calls for sour cream, you can substitute yogurt -- or savoury. I think they both basically taste the same anyway.

Friday, January 28, 2011

friday fixations: You Tube edition

{Portlandia} This is such a great video about the world of crafting and diy. They should make a "Put Some Words on It" video, too.
I love Fred Armisen! Is this show on yet? I can't find it on my schedule.

 {hello satellites} I love this song. I wish I could find a download of it somewhere!

{Gentleman Reg} I can't stop listening to this one. Thanks to Erika for tuning me into them!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

fireplace meat

Fireplace meat is basically souvlaki, meat on a stick.
hummina hummina

I wish I could say that this is the original, straight-from-Greece recipe, but it's not. In fact, I have no idea if they marinated their pork or even had a 'recipe' to speak of. We've asked many times and aside from 'put it on a rotisserie in a fireplace', we really don't know what happened to that meat before it started cooking. I only know that it was the most delicious and by far one of the best meals I've had in Greece. And one thing is for certain, after having fireplace meat, there's no way I was going to wait until we took another trip to Greece to have it again. So I've had to base this recipe on how I best remember it.

This meal always translates into a wrap for Idle Husband. A smear of tzatziki, a spoonful of greek salad, bits of torn fireplace meat, and ample chunks of feta, all wrapped up in a warm pita. If I'm craving a classic souvlaki wrap, I'll only supply feta and tzatziki, slices of tomato and purple onion, and french fries for wrapping up inside the pita (yes, french fries. You can't order anything in Greece without french fries tucked in). But generally, I like to eat everything a bit at a time using the pita as a scoop for tzatziki and greek salad or making stacks of tomato, cucumber, and meat on my fork. There's really no wrong way to eat it.

Fireplace Meat or Pork Souvlaki
serves 2

1 pound (or a tad more) boneless pork, cubed (if there is any fat on it, don't remove it)*
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry dill
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place the cubed pork into a medium sized bowl and add the salt, dill, oregano, garlic powder, lemon juice, and olive oil and stir until the pork is evenly coated. Cover and allow it to marinate for at least two hours in the fridge (longer is better, but not necessary).

Skewer the marinated meat on a rotisserie rod or bamboo skewers.** Make sure to pack them on really tightly with no spaces between the meat. If you're using skewers, place them on a foil lined baking sheet, and pop into a 350 degree oven (or attach the rottisserie rod into the toaster oven making sure there's a foil lined baking sheet under it to catch drips), and cook until the meat is brown and crispy. It's important for the meat to be a little crispy on the edges. Those darkened bits are the delicious bits. Mine usually takes about 30-40 minutes.

De-skewer the meat and serve with tzatziki (you can buy it from Superstore or Hellas Foods but homemade is 100% better than either of those), greek salad (the traditional one is pretty straight forward and classic, but you could also try the green one), feta, and warm flatbread (this bread is usually called pitas, though pitas with pockets are not traditional. This is now my favourite flatbread recipe minus the basil).

*If you don't have boneless pork, this also makes chicken absolutely delicious. You don't have to use chunks of chicken breast (although those would be superb), I've marinated whole chicken parts with this recipe (4 legs/thighs, 4 wings), cooked without rotating/flipping, and that chicken dinner has turned out to be one of our most memorable chicken meals.

**I have a rotisserie toaster oven now, so I skewer my pork on the metal rod and let the rotisserie do all the turning. But if you don't have a rotisserie, don't fret. I used to skewer the meat on simple bamboo sticks (you can find them anywhere and they're very cheap for a bag of a billion skewers) and then rotate them about halfway through cooking.

Monday, January 24, 2011


As mentioned before, I've been going through art and pictures for the last week or more, so I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you. Everything came from Value Village or other thrift stores, and if the picture didn't come from there, the frame most certainly did. Also, last year, mom brought me about eight heavy suitcases and said they were filled with pictures. So for some reason, I just assumed they were family pictures, and I never bothered to open them. When we moved, Idle Husband was really keen on unpacking everything and opened a suitcase. Inside, there were some family pictures but the rest of it was mom's art collection. I told him to just leave them for later and it's been on my mind since then, so I went through all of the suitcases this weekend, and it was really like having my own personal Value Village in our basement. Those old suitcases were a treasure trove filled with a lot of art that I remembered and always loved, so I included a few of my favourites from that source as well.

I love poppies, so when I saw this paint-by-number, I had to have it. Actually, I also had to have it just cuz it's paint-by-number (I used to paint those all the time when I was younger). You never think it's paint-by-number from far away, either. I think it's just because you don't really expect it to be since they usually only come in really childish kittie/doggie/pony designs. If they started making really gorgeous paint-by-number designs like this, I'd probably start painting them in again.

I bought this as an empty frame because it was round and the glass is convex. I didn't have anything to put in it for the longest time and at some point, I cut out this print I liked from a magazine ad, didn't know what to do with that either, so I tried putting it in the frame, kinda liked it, and that's where it's stayed for at least 10 years. I still don't have a picture for the frame, but the print has grown on me so I'll probably never change it.

The parthenon Random Greek temple in a seashell frame! No, I didn't buy this cuz Idle Husband's Greek and I wanted to get all the Greek stuff I could. I bought it years before we met. I just thought it was so beautiful in its tackiness, you know? It was too strange to leave. Now that I've actually been there (gawd who'd've thought?!), I always stare at it cuz it amazes me how much the parthenon has changed since this picture. Just the fact that there's not a swarm of people in the background is odd to me. Also the picture isn't an actual picture. It might've come from a magazine, I'm not sure. I was also just informed that this isn't the parthenon at all and that even though it kinda looks like it, there are a million temples that look like this in Greece.

I love everything about this one. The colours, the raised texture, the frame, the artistic style, it all really works well together. The only thing that sucks is that it's a tiny picture again. A lot of my favourite art is tiny and I can't use it as a feature which really bums me out.

This was in a suitcase. The picture needs a better frame and better matting (duh), but I love that it's the Queen (or queen mom? I'm actually not sure) and she's looking right at the photographer. It's neat and historic and I love those old black and whites where you can kinda make up a story as to what's happening, but you'll never really know. It must've been some visit to Canada since you can see all the Mounties in the background.

This is a ceramic piece and it's part of a series. It says that this one's September: Saison Start. I've always loved the art style. It's really unique. Hmm now that we're in the age of Google, let's search it... Interesting! The series tells the story of a young couple from meeting to their first child. Aww! I had no idea. Gosh I'd love to find the rest of them.

This is another thrift store frame I bought without a picture. At one point, I was cutting that unicorn writing paper to size so I could use the backside as matting since it matches the frame colour (it's hard to tell in the picture). Anyway, I put the paper in to make sure I'd cut it correctly, and then I thought, I actually really like that. It's different and interesting. And there it's stayed. I probably did it in high school and I've never once thought of changing it.

This picture came to us from a dear friend of the family after he passed away. I love that it's double exposed, so the people kind of look like ghosts on top of the background. I think that's the friend, the guy in the middle (I only knew him when he was elderly, so I'm not sure what he looked like when he was younger). I put it in the frame years later. This is another one that makes me wonder what they were doing, what they're laughing about, and then it's even more interesting because there's another completely different picture under them. I think it's a guy fixing a boat, but it's really hard to tell! Oh and I love the dresses and hairstyles on the women.

I love her shirt and hair -- style and colour, the dreamy gauzy feel of it, and I just think it's so unusual to have a bunny in a picture like this. It's probably a reproduction of some artist's work, but I have no idea who.

This came out of the suitcases today. I remember it on the wall and I always loved it. I'm so glad I have it again. It's been almost 10 years since I've seen it. The frame's a little damaged, it looks like mom glued the corner at one point. I think I remember it accidentally falling off the wall. I like how this isn't a typical landscape, either. Most landscapes always have trees or flowers or maybe a river bank, but I've never seen a swampy looking marshland landscape since this one. I've always been drawn to it because of that uniqueness.

I picked this up cuz of the homemade frame first and then I fell in love with the photograph. The frame is old barn siding or perhaps a shingle. It's extra delicate since it's so thin. I love how the photographer paired such a rustic frame with a photograph that I think looks really modern. It's that unexpected pairing which makes it so interesting.

This is a photo of my dad and his buddies. It's not supposed to be whimsical or humorous, this is just how they were. I scanned the photo into the computer today to see what it would look like in black and white. I don't really like the frame and how it screams western so much, but I do love the picture and the concept. It's a nice memory. I thought that if I made it black and white and put it in a larger black frame with white matting, it would make it a little more modern and more of an interesting feature piece rather than just a smallish picture off to the side somewhere.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

menu for two

I thought I'd start regularly posting our weekly menu as a way to keep track of how we're actually eating. I also thought it might be interesting to show you what recipes are on my radar each week, what I'm experimenting with, and whether it was a success or a failure. I also know how hard it is to cook for two people especially when one of those two does not like eating leftovers. So most of the time, I have to figure out portions just so we don't end up with any leftovers and I have to come up with something different every night (a tremendous feat just by itself).

I also think it'll help give you ideas for dinners for two (or one, with leftovers). Especially for those times when it's really hard to find recipes and ideas (November and December I'm looking at you. My usual go-to places for recipes explode with Thanksgiving sides and desserts at this time and as much as we'd like to eat a pound of Christmas cookies or a casserole fit for an entire family gathering for dinner, it's not really a smart thing to do).

We also decided that (maybe due to our age?) eating meat every night feels a little heavy on our stomachs, so I try to have Tuesdays and Thursdays as "vegetarian" nights (seafood, eggs, cheese is ok) which has also presented its own set of problems (especially when one of us doesn't like beans). I've also never cooked or eaten much vegetarian food myself (I grew up on a cattle farm, eh hem), so I have to get more creative and more adventurous because of that (especially since we've both decided tofu's just not doing it for us).

{this week's menu}
tuesday: garlic soup with grilled cheese for Idle Husband
wednesday: naked ravioli
thursday: "sausage" patties with salad
friday: meatloaf with salad and mashed potato
saturday: pizza
sunday: roast chicken, roasted vegetables, and salad

what really happened

{monday} no, I still haven't tried these with chili. I just didn't have any other options for dinner since we were completely out of everything and this seemed like the best meal to eat without vegetables.
{tuesday} I still hadn't gone grocery shopping, so I omitted the wine (1/2 cup more of stock), heavy cream (milk and butter instead), french bread (ends of my own bread), bay leaf (I season my own stock), and gruyere. Overall, this recipe just didn't taste very much like garlic (let alone outrageous garlic). It was more like a slightly garlic-y onion soup. Also soup is a complete meal for me so I'm cool with having it alone (or with a salad), but I always have to make at least one grilled cheese for IH.
{wednesday} I ground my own pork (change number one), omitted the parsley, butter, and sage leaves, and I was honestly just too lazy to bother browning butter. I also went with spaghetti cuz I didn't want to buy bow-tie pasta when I had a huge bag of spaghetti sitting unopened in my pantry. The kitchen scale has proved invaluable for everything (not just macarons). Since spaghetti is hard to portion, I cook about 160-200 grams and it ends up being just perfect. Idle Husband unexpectedly had to work late, so I didn't really finish out the rest of this recipe. I forgot about the frozen peas which bummed me out so much as I've been wanting to get rid of that ice rock in the freezer forever. I chopped in 3/4s of a tomato that had been sitting on the counter since Tuesday, and I stirred in some salted margarine (I love pasta and margarine). I wish I had put some seasoning into the pork balls themselves. They were tasty but more on the tasty meh side of things. I also had a lot leftover, so I froze it for an emergency.{thursday} I didn't have the specific spices that were called for so I used what I thought would be good and kept the measurements the same. Once it was all combined and ready for shaping, I thought that it could easily go horribly wrong. The mixture was so sticky. It helped to wet my hands, but I kinda settled into the idea that they were going to gum up, fall apart, and stick to everything. I made them in the morning and kept them in the fridge on a baking sheet (uncovered) all day before cooking. Thankfully, they easily came off the pan and cooked up fantastically! The recipe only made 10 small patties and I wished there had been 10 more. I'm definitely making it again, but I'll be doubling it.
{friday} I talked about this meatloaf here. Now I always personalize it with my own spices and I double up on the carrots and onion instead of spinach. I also sprinkle brown sugar on top and squirt some ketchup on and mix it around to make a glaze. For me, meatloaf has to have a sweet ketchupy glaze. I also almost never do mashed potato for this, but I happened to have it and one potato boiled and mashed is the perfect amount of mashed potato for both of us. It really compliments meatloaf. It almost makes it taste better, you know?

click to enlarge

{saturday} I usually do pizza on Fridays, so I have the time (aka I'm not as lazy) to make the dough, but if I have a frozen pizza dough ball, then I'll do it on the weekend as a quick dinner (especially Saturdays because I find that's our busiest weekend day). I had those leftover pork meatballs from Wednesday, so I used them as a topping. Pizzas are great cuz you can get rid of leftovers in one meal and your husband won't even notice cuz they're on a pizza. We also prefer Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce to tomato sauce, and I piled on a bunch of mushrooms and some sliced ripe olives which I bought just for this pizza. I know it sucks to open a whole can of olives for only a sprinkling, but I spread the rest out evenly on a pan and froze them. They freeze really well and unthaw with lightening speed. I added my favourite pizza dough recipe since I don't think I've posted it before and I can't remember where I got it. When you're adding the flour, you're kneading the dough, just so you know. This one's so good, I don't even consider other dough recipes when I see them. It makes enough for two pizzas which is a lot nicer when you're putting the time in to make it. Don't skip sprinkling the pan with cornmeal. That's the secret to pizza. (I went searching through the archives to see if I had ever posted it before, and I completely laughed my ass off at this post I wrote a while ago).

{sunday} AlI I do for a whole roast chicken is unthaw it, pop it on a foil lined pan, salt and pepper the heck out of it, and place it in a 350 degree oven till it's done (when a meat thermometer placed into the thickest part reads 180 -- that's another invaluable kitchen tool). Usually, as soon as you can smell it, it's just about cooked completely. I always do a salad with this (for me, no meal is complete without one), but I've been craving roasted vegetables like a crazy person. So I chopped up fresh brussel sprouts, beets, broccoli, acorn squash, carrots, sweet potato, and cabbage (just enough for me and some if IH wanted to try them), drizzled some canola oil on them, salt and pepper, a few cloves of garlic, and some chunks of bacon (IH looked at me sadly in the morning and said, I'm really thinking about bacon. So the rest of the bacon was draped over the chicken just for him). Then I roasted them on a seperate pan at the same time as the chicken. They could have come out a little earlier than they did, but they were so good, I only had one chicken leg and filled up on the roasted vegetables instead. Gawd I love roasted broccoli and cabbage! So delicious!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

impossible pie

You know what else feels impossible? The colour green. Flowers. The sight of cement.

Yes, it's snowing again and I'm getting just a little depressed about it. I'm never one to get depressed over winter. It's nothing new to me. It's something I've had to live with my entire life. But now I've had enough.

Probably because I've been mostly housebound since we moved. I'm pretty comfortable driving myself around in these conditions, but not so comfortable driving alongside the other drivers. So I'll admit I've mostly done it to myself, but at least it's motivated me to shuffle through a lot of things I've been ignoring for too long.

I found this recipe while unpacking a box of unsorted personal papers. Don't you just love those boxes? They're full of "important" things, but they're all scrunched and folded and thrown together in the dirtiest box you've got (preferably one that's had its lid ripped off years ago). That's really how you label a box 'important papers' professional organisers be damned! These specific papers and pictures have been stuffed in this box since we last moved and this time, I figured I'd go through it and finally make the decision as to whether any of it was actually worth keeping.

Surprise of all surprises, a large amount of it was junk (didn't see that coming, I bet). Half of it wasn't even mine, and about a handful of it was handwritten recipes. Some from my great aunt, some from friends of ours long since forgotten, some from mom, and even some from young me. This recipe is one of mom's. Scribbled out on daytimer paper and horribly stained, you know it's got to be good.

I remembered the name of the pie, I remembered making it with her, but I couldn't remember how it turned out or what it tasted like. It was freshly impossible again! And that was really what motivated me the most to make it. That and because I wanted to stage some pictures with these fake daisies I found (in another box). Little fake icons of summer.

I feel almost badly that I'm even bothering with pictures of the pie. I feel like I'm ruining it for you. That leap of faith, that devil-may-care attitude, that thought that goes through your mind when you read the ingredients and the method. This shouldn't work into a pie. This can't be right. There's got to be a step missing. An ingredient! Something! And then you gingerly measure ingredients out and put them together and you keep reading and rereading the recipe just to make sure you've got it right. All of that is going to be lost on you, and that's sometimes half the fun of baking. Something I really miss. There's not a recipe out there these days where there isn't a picture of it (somewhere) or ratings from a gaggle of reviewers letting you know exactly what it is you're getting yourself into. I chose not to google this recipe until after I made it, and now I know there are pictures out there already (big surprise). So I figured I might as well have fun with my daisies because anyone who reads this will run over to google and search it anyway. I probably would have, too, if it hadn't have been my mom's recipe.

So on that note, I think this pie is pretty neat. The flour settles to the bottom to form a crust, the eggs make up a slightly sweet eggy custard in the middle (on par with jello texture), and the coconut floats up to form a crusty topping. When you first take it out of the oven, it's puffed up and flat, but as it cools, it all sinks together leaving a delicious crispy coconut trim. That's my favourite part.

4 eggs
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla (I'd love to try coconut next time!)

Put everything into a blender in the order listed. Blend until combined (scrape the sides down if you notice some flour stuck there). Pour into a greased 10" pie plate. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until the top is golden and it no longer wobbles.

Monday, January 17, 2011

poor plants

These plants were on clearance at walmart this weekend, so we went a little nuts and bought four of them. The one thing about this house is that it just screamed out for greenery, especially for the big and leafy and lush types.

Since it was snowing and freezing cold that day, I've now realized why they were on clearance.

Honestly, they looked like the picture on the tag before!

care: oh good. they're fussy.

this is the worst. the leaves aren't crunchy, but they've all darkened and curled in on themselves.
the internets say it might recover

care: ah simplicity!

not as bad, but still pretty wilty

care: neglectful!

it seems to only be partially effected

care: not too bad

it did the best through transport

I'm really hoping it was just their leaves that were immediately effected and the plant itself bounces back. Especially the crotons. It was so pretty before. What a shame.

Friday, January 14, 2011

friday fixations

my round pink floral rug finally has a home on the floor!

{all shades of pink} Unfortunately for Idle Husband, this house looks wicked awesome with pink. I know I was fixated on purple and yellow, but now I kinda want to buy a bunch of pink accessories and pink pictures and pink tchotchkes and pink rugs. I think I'd like to revise my favourite colour to the Pantone colour of the year. Honeysuckle is right up my alley!

{ice cream sandwiches} Behind my back, Idle Husband bought some delectable Rolo ice cream sandwiches last week and now I'm craving them big time (four to a box?! Come on!). Chewy chocolate cookies hugging a thick slab of ice cream that just happens to be hiding delicious gooey caramel? I did not need this introduced to my lips (and, consequently, hips)! This is exactly the reason he shouldn't be allowed in a grocery store and why I never venture down the ice cream aisle.

{calendar of the month} I know, I made my own calendar and then I made another, but then I stumbled on this 3D calendar from the Curiosity Group and wanted to print and assemble it in the worst way thought it would be a fun little addition to Idle Husband's office. It's really easy to put together (it took me longer to find a glue stick), and I think it's a bit more guy friendly than flowers and mushrooms. I can't wait to see what the next one will be!

{music balloon} I've decided having a stereo is kind of a moot point these days. I haven't bought a CD since forever and I don't even listen to the CDs I have anymore. So I'm always on the lookout for interesting speakers that can plug right into my MP3 player. It always has the most up-to-date music I'm listening to so having the ability to listen to it directly without a computer and being able to move it anywhere in the house is really the most perfect thing. I love how these little speakers at Poketo look! They're so cute! (Sidenote: I pronounce 'balloon' like 'ba-loo-in'. I didn't realize I was saying it weirdly all these years until I got into a confusing discussion with Idle Husband over the need to have a whole store dedicated to balloons.)

{winning contests} I won my very first contest! I only enter the ones I truly would like to win, but I've never actually won anything. One time, I participated in a pancake taste test (where I had to make two different pancake recipes and then report back on which was best), and I got an email saying that due to low response, she'd decided to draw for a gift to thank those for responding. So I was all excited about having been chosen, but I never did get that gift. Bummer. So when I was told I'd won this contest, I was ecstatic but also dubious. I've been sitting around since the beginning of December waiting for it to arrive, and just when I started to think, Drag. Another won contest without having won anything, it came! I chose this print. It's so pretty!

{the dishwasher} It takes a big person to admit when they're wrong. So I'm admitting it. Dishwashers have come a long way since my grandmother's gross, smelly, never washing anything dishwasher (the dishwasher that soured me towards all dishwashers). So I promised to utilize it for everything once we moved, and you know what I realized? I think it washes dishes better than I do. Not to mention the time it's freed up for me to work on other little projects. I also really love how I can remove the silverware container and I don't have to keep bending down there all the time. And yes, I have a lot of stuff that can't go in there, but even when I wash that stuff, I still use the dishwasher. The upper rack pulls double duty as a drying rack. (That's really the most genius idea I've ever come across on the internet ever.) The only problem I've noticed is that we run out of things to eat on before the dishwasher's completely filled. Oh darn! We need to get another set of plates and bowls and silverware!

bonus! fixation PLUS angry ranting diatribe!

{graders} I have to get this off my chest because I spent an hour and a half in -26 C weather shovelling out the old house, because we received a letter from Canada Post describing our walks as "unsafe" sometime between Wednesday and Thursday. So I thought, what the hell? I was just there on Wednesday to pick up the mail and I shovelled out a path specifically for the mailman and I even threw some gravel on parts that I thought were kinda icy. It was snowing while I was doing it, and about two inches of snow fell since then, but what's this unsafe business? How is it unsafe? Could you please describe what's unsafe about it? So I drove over there this morning to see for myself. I looked at all the other houses so I'd have something to compare to, and when I got to ours, it didn't look any different from anyone else's on the block. So then I started to suspect that Canada Post had just sat around in their warm offices this week, printing out warning letters for everyone in Edmonton. That prompted my angry shovelling. And by "angry shovelling" I mean, I got the ice chipper out of the little shed (all the way at the back of the property, through thigh high snow), and chiseled everything down to the cement and covered the place in gravel. So there. I'm so sorry you had to walk through the two inches of snow that fell since I shovelled on Wednesday. I just don't know how you survived it! Trudging through snow that literally came up past the rubber sole on your boot! Oh me gawds! Insert your favourite expletive here (I know I never come across as someone who does, but I really truly swear like a sailor).
Anyway, on my way home, I got stuck behind a grader because finally (finally!) the city has decided it should maybe spend some money and plow the streets. (I don't know, is the city gasping in shock every time it happens? What?! Snow?! We didn't budget for this!) And then I noticed the vehicles ahead of me anxiously looking for a way to get around the grader, clearly angry that he was holding them up. I really don't get that mentality at all. People complain about the snow piling up everywhere and then complain when it's getting removed? I'll gladly follow a grader along Edmonton city streets going 30 all the way to my destination if it means the streets will be free of snow. I love graders. I wish I could stare fondly at one through our front window while it toured our neighboured. Hint hint.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

photo bomb

I forgot how agonizing it is to put up pictures. When I unpacked those terrible boxes labled 'art', I suddenly felt so overwhelmed with the amount of frames, pictures, plaques, and wall hangings I had (with still more to unpack).

Where should this go? Should I group these? Should I change the pictures out of some frames or leave the old ones?

from here and here

Should I keep empty frames empty? Should I leave unframed pictures unframed? Should I keep things sparse by putting one large piece of art here or maybe keep it to two smaller pieces per wall or maybe a larger grouping instead?

The Royal Tenenbaums

Cluttered walls or clean walls or art grouping up the staircase? Stacked and leaning pictures on the ledge going downstairs?

There are so many different ways to attack this!

I finally put a few holes in the wall when I put up my entryway mirrors. I used that method from Design*Sponge I talked about before, though I did it a bit less professional and more half crumpled newspaper and black pen which was a poor choice, admittedly, as I couldn't see the outlines or the nail positions very clearly. Regardless, I thought it made the job easier and reduced the number of nail holes that typically go into one of my art placement jobs.

I also have a lot of frames that look like this. I like the interesting ornate bits about them, but I'm really hating the golden and brassy looking plastic. It's dated and not in a cool way. I've had thoughts of maybe spray painting them all one colour and then creating a grouping with them. What do you think? I'm leaning towards all black but white would look good, too. Here's an example of an all white photo frame collection just to get an idea of what it could look like.

Maybe I'll just rotate stuff around the house for a while, propping frames up on walls here and there until I like it enough to nail it in. I think the problem with a lot of the pictures is that I remember where they went in the old house and I can't really get past that thought. If it was in the dining room, I want it to go back in the dining room, but then I find I don't like it in there anymore so then I feel lost and give up. The trials of making stuff work in a new location!