Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The life of moi

I've had bags on the brain and really haven't posted about much else lately so here I am with an update on the life of moi.

Life with no school is amazing. This is a short list of things I have done since I finished school:
1. Finally visited Hannah's Tapas with Jess. Martinis and tapas = a perfect "end of my degree" celebration.
2. Try not to get too excited about this one. I organized my kitchen utensil drawers. Maybe not the most thrilling news but I swear less in the kitchen now.
2. On multiple occasions I've breathed in fresh air after work while standing outside in my yard rather than pressing my face up against the screen in my office wishing I was outside.
3. Walked. A 2.5 hour walk with mom on Sunday and a few other shorter jaunts on my own. We live near fabulous paths and I'm finally taking advantage of them.
4. Wandered through the mall just because! Do you know how long it has been since I've gone shopping without a plan? A long ass time. I miss window shopping and am enjoying it thoroughly! I spent 45 minutes in Michael's yesterday and managed to spend $0.00. This is an impressive act of self-control for me. I will admit that I did well at Michael's but heading into the Fabric store with the intent to 'just look' is a ridiculous and impossible feat so no more buying lunches, my weekly lunch bill is going to go towards fabric.
5. Signed up for the next level of Pilates, advanced level classes here I come.
6. Played with my sewing machine. As you can see from the posts below bags are on the brain! I spent two hours tonight surfing the net looking for funky bag handles and have decided that a trip to Japan is necessary. Not at all realistic but I'm allowed to dream dammit.

What do I have planned for the next little while?
1. More bags
2. Some volunteer work. I'm volunteering for a few hours on Friday after work to help the student I spend my days with finish off her community service hours... then it's time to sign up for some regular thang. Still have to figure out what that might be.
3. Making these - you know I have an obsession with bath goodies so why not save a few bucks and make my own? Amy Karol mentioned these on her blog and they sound super easy to make.
4. Celebrating mom & dad's birthdays.
5. Planning our summer trip out West.
6. Eating more gelato.
7. Hitting the gym at least two days a week.
8. Catching up with some peeps I've been missing.
9. Reading. This might not be for awhile yet, I am enjoying browsing websites and blogs but can't find it in myself to read at length just yet. I'll need a bit more time to let my brain rest.

And that is that.

Tantalizing Tuesday

A tried and true recipe that I'm asked to bring to every family dinner because who besides my man can say no to cheese and creamy mayo combined?

Simple Broccoli Salad

What you need:
2 broccoli heads cut into bite size pieces
3/4 cup mayo (fat-free works just fine)
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup grated cheese
Optional: chopped onion, bacon bits

What you do:
1. Whisk together the mayo, sugar and vinegar until it's smooth.
2. Stir in cheese and optional bits.
3. Add chopped broccoli - am I the only one who can't say those two words together without hearing Dana Carvey singing "Choppin broccoli"?
4. Let sit for a few hours or overnight. If you're in a rush then go ahead and gobble it up but it's better once it has had a chance to rest.

A Charming Handbag

I've got the sewing itch and I think it's going to take a whole lotta bags to scratch it sufficiently.

I'm thrilled with my latest piece. A big thanks goes out to Amy Karol's fabulous book Bend the Rules Sewing for this pattern. Making this one little bag has got the creative juices flowing, her techniques are so easy and totally transferable.

I'm loving this fabric and the fact that I now know a simple way to make square bottoms. Yay!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rick Rack Paddy Whack

Another little bits bag.

This little orange baby was supposed to be my first wristlet. After sewing it all together, including interfacing to give it a little more shape this round, I triumphantly pulled the bag rightside out and then deflated a little when I discovered my mistake: the wristlet was between the exterior fabric and liner. Whoops. Oh well, learn from your mistakes right? I know what I did wrong so next time I'll get it right. I love the rick rack on this pouch but feel like it's missing something... hmmm OH I KNOW: a wrist strap.

I experimented a little this weekend and found a better, faster technique for creating these bags. Yay for my sewing machine and yay for finding something I like to do at home besides sifting through cyberspace.

I made another tiny bits bag this weekend for Tanya. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it so I'm going to have to make another one. I don't mind of course, I love the fabric and am looking forward to playing with it some more. I had meant to sew one up for her months ago when she, the superstar teacher that she is, found out that she was hired to teach in Moscow next year! When she's away she can look into her purse, see her pouch and think of me. The fabric is covered with nesting dolls, too cute.

Tanya pointed out that the little bits bags are the perfect size for a passport, of course they'll fit some other goodies too, maybe a hand held Yahtzee T?

This is my favourite book.

Choosing a favourite book for the "This is..." meme this week has been a difficult task which is part of the reason why I'm posting late, the other part is extreme lack of motivation in the blogging zone of my bean. I haven't posted anything worthwhile as of late, then again I'm not sure I ever really post anything worthwhile, more like random ramblings... See? Ramblings.

As I was saying, I had a difficult time choosing what to post this week so I've decided to choose three of my fav books rather than one because, as anyone who knows me well could attest, I am indecisive and cannot pick just one. Truth be told the first of my list below is a true favorite and the others are fabulous but there are many other stories that I have read that I love's like my girlfriends, I refer to all of my girls as "one of my best friends" because I love them all and I couldn't, nor would I want to, choose just one as the all-time best. Geesh I'm having a hard time sticking to one train of thought.

Here they are:
The all-time best Princess book ever written! I love Robert Munsch and can't wait to have my own classroom so I can read his books to the little nuts and then have them write him 8 billion letters with the hope of having him come to my school to read to the kids (and me). Love him!
I could read this story over and over and over again, and have... as a matter of fact I read it yesterday. seriously.

Of course I couldn't skip this one:

I loved all of the Harry Potter books, some of you may remember me talking about my days of mourning last summer after I read the final book but out of all the HP books number four is still the best in my mind. The story of Triwizard tournament blew my mind. Yes, slight exaggeration there, but it sucked me in and had me imagining that I was participating in Harry's place. Yes I am a dork and have no problem admitting it.

Deciding on the third was not easy but because it's still fresh in my mind after watching the movie this past weekend I'm going to choose:

The Kite Runner is an amazing novel, if you have not read it be sure to do so but pick it up when you have a few days of peace and quiet to enjoy it. Don't start reading it thinking it will be all sunshine and lollipops, the story made my heart ache and brought tears to my eyeballs over and over again. That being said don't avoid it because it might hurt a bit; in my mind if a story can make me cry and cause me to wish I could yank my heart out and massage the ache from it, it's a damn good story. I still have yet to read Hosseini's second novel, I'm saving A Thousand Splendid Suns for my first week of summer holidays.

High five to Three Buttons for choosing books for this week's "This is..." theme, one of my most fav things in the world is reading.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Maybe not the Littlest...

but certainly a Hobo.

My latest creation: The Hobo Bag.

This cute little sac's pattern was a freebie I snagged off of j caroline creative thanks to this post at how about orange... The tutorial provided along with the patter was excellent! I would definitely suggest this for any novice sewers, I had no problem following the pattern. I'm really happy with the finished product. It certainly isn't perfect but it's not terrible for my first attempt at sewing a 'real' purse. I particularly like the little bow on the strap (on the right side of this pic).

The instructions for sewing in the zippered pocket were really excellent, I was going to skip this step but I'm really happy I took the plunge, I'll use this method for future projects.

I fell in love with this Japanese designer fabric, I hope my mom likes it as much as I do!

29 Again!

Today is the birthday of the most fabulous woman in my world: my mom. Happy Birthday Mom!

She'll be thrilled that I posted this pic here, this is right before we headed to Pilate's this evening. Here she's showing off her latest fix, mom has a serious purse addiction, I must say I'm pleased with this lovely bag. Why? Well it was a gift from me to mom and I made it.
More on that later...

A cup of tea, a game of scrabble and an hour of stretching with my most favorite girl; I certainly enjoyed your birthday evening mom and hope you did too. I love you birthday girl!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tantalizing Tuesday

The last Girls Night In that Jess hosted was super yum. We went with an all appetizers menu and there were a multitude of delicious dishes.

I snagged a recipe off of Pioneer Woman Cooks (one of my fav cooking blogs) and it was a hit! Remember to keep your fingers out of your eyes when you're making these and be sure to scoop out all of the seeds or someone will be in for a fiery surprise. wow, I'm a poet.

Bacon-wrapped Jalapeno Puppies aka BLISS
This recipe came from here, thank you Pioneer Woman!

What you need:
fresh jalapenos (2-3 inches long)
cream cheese
cookie tray
wire rack

What you do:
1. Slice the jalapenos lengthwise and clean the little suckers out with a spoon.
2. Cut the bacon slices into smaller bits (big enough to wrap around the jalapeno once it has been stuffed). I found cutting my pound of bacon in half worked well, the Pioneer Woman suggests thirds but these would have been too small for my puppies.
3. Start filling the jalapeno halves with cream cheese, just scoop and stuff.
4. Wrap each jalapeno with a slice of bacon and stab through the middle with a toothpick to hold the meat in place.
5. Place the wire rack on the cookie sheet (the cookie sheet will catch the bacon drippings)
6. Place the puppies on the rack.
7. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes (or more depending on how crispy you like your bacon).
8. Chomp Chomp.

These are super easy and crazy good. Be sure to check out the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog for lots of recipes that are well written (funny) and easy to follow thanks to awesome photographed directions.
Check this Dump Cake out: maybe for your birthday mom?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

This is... my latest discovery.

I actually 'discovered' this ages ago thanks to another blogger, unfortunately I have no clue who that other blogger is now so I can't credit them. I've been meaning to post about this site for quite some time and since today's "This is..." relates to a discovery it seems like the perfect time to share.

Pixelgirl Presents has the coolest FREE Desktop images & icon sets ever! I have little monsters for my icons now and I can't help but smile whenever I click on one.

Here are just a few of my recent fav desktop images from Pixelgirl:

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tic Toc

Six hours from now and I will be walking out of the final exam I have to write in order to complete my Social Development Studies Undergraduate degree. I. Am. Freaking. Out.
In a good way. This post is just a heads up to all those reading this: if you feel the ground beneath you shake or feel your eardrums pop due to an ear piercing shriek six hours from now please don't be afraid, it's only screams of joy rocking my world and in turn yours. The countdown is truly on ladies and gentlemen, freedom is within my reach.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Inside & Out

You may remember my public declaration back in October: "I'm going to start exercising." I thought writing it for the world (or at least for the three regular readers I have) might motivate my lazy arse. t didn't.

I didn't even bother making exercise one of my new years resolutions this year because I knew I would break it but now I'm making a new promise to myself, one you've heard before: I am going to start exercising. School is finished as of friday (praising the martini will be taking place to celebrate), spring has sprung and it's time to get healthy, not just my body but my mind. I want to spend the time left before I begin teacher's college - wow that feels good to write - pampering my mind, body and spirit. Sound cheesy? Maybe so but I don't care, I intend to make the most of my free time.

A friend of mine won a gym membership at the Fireman's Fashion Show a few weeks ago and she passed it my way since the gym is right around the corner from my house. I figured this was a sign, it's time to try the dreaded gym once again. I was a gym girl for a couple years but then lost interest. I officially quit the gym a year ago, I was tired of paying a monthly fee for something I wasn't using. A few months back I considered the idea of joining the new gym near my house for a fleeting moment but figured I would likely be throwing my money away once again. Thanks to Lori's winning ticket I'm now a member and it's not costing me a cent.

I went to my first cardio/weight class Monday night and although I looked like I was about to explode (picture a panting tomato) and was sweating like a stuck pig within five minutes of starting, I felt damn good when I was done and can't wait to go to the step class tomorrow night! The facility is super small and I think that's what I like most about it, there were only six girls working out in the cardio/weight room and another six in my class when I was there Monday; I love going to classes with only a few people, there's nobody to hide behind so I push myself harder. I'm still aching from that class and every time my muscles scream at me I feel like screaming high fiving myself, but that would be weird.

I might start a new blog to keep track of my attempts at becoming healthier... we'll see. In the meantime I'm going to post weekly updates of my progress, not to bore you but to help me keep track of where I'm at.

My mental hygiene attempts over the past week have involved water. I posted here about my love of baths a month ago, that same night I ordered some of those super cute cupcake bath bombs by Feeling Smitten. I've tried two of them and so far this one is my favourite:

Frosted snowdrops = YUM.

It smelled sweet and left my body feelings smooth and silky. I figured it would dye my tub blue and was stoked when I came back 20 minutes after the tub drained to find no residue. Perfect!

I actually tried the butter cream icing pictured below first, since it wasn't my fav bomb I was pleasantly surprised with the blue baby above.

I was a wee bit disappointed with the butter cream icing. The scent of the little cake before I placed it in the bath was divine! It was faint but I still had high hopes for it, once it was in the water the aroma was barely sniffable. I thought it might have just been me so I yelled at Mike and asked him to come and take a sniff, he couldn't smell anything at all. I even made him to smell my arm after my bath and he shrugged his shoulders: nothing. There wasn't much to this one, it didn't have the same silky texture in the water as the blue bomb. Maybe it was a dud, if there was a little more scent added to it I would have enjoyed it almost as much as the silky frosted snowdrop. Hmmm, maybe next time I should order a big one! I bet that would satisfy my sweet tooth.

Speaking of my sweet tooth, I'm terribly angry with Tanya. We finally made it out for a stroll Uptown last night, it was a beautiful evening and she took me out for gelato. A new addiction, just what I need, thanks Tanya. Passion fruit and chocolate hazelnut were my choices and what a perfect combo for my first gelato experience. My taste buds spent today crying out for more but I will not give in, I will not indulge... at least not until Mike gets home from Vegas. He's going to die when he tries the chocolate hazelnut, it tastes just like Kinder Buenos and he loves those things. What will it take for me to forgive Tanya? Another stop at gelato heaven maybe?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

All Buttoned Up!

While wasting time on Etsy today I had the brilliant idea of searching for buttons. I have a thing for buttons and I can't believe I didn't think of looking sooner. Here are a few of my favourite finds. Some of these puppies are super sized!

A button with polka dots? What a perfect combo. This one was made by Button Bliss.

Here are four fabulous buttons by Laura Walker of VeronicaButtons. I think the first is my absolute fav!

Finally, these funky three holed buttons by Roundrabbit.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

This is...

my jewelry box.

I think this was a christmas gift from mom and dad a loooong time ago but I'm a bit fuzzy in my mind, maybe my mom will help me out with my memory lapse.

Inside is a mess of 'stuff' I wear on a regular basis... I need some new earrings. Hmmmm Etsy earring hunt anyone?

The topic for "This is..." was chosen by Anastasia

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A New Look

What a relief it was to step outside today and not flinch from the cold. It finally felt like spring should today so I figured I would celebrate new beginnings (weather and personal) with a fresh look for the blog. I'm really pleased with the results, what do you think?

The last time I changed my background and header I had a few people ask me how this was done, basically I googled blogger tutorials and waded through a zillion blogs/sites until I found a few that sounded more like english than latin (I don't speak computer geek very well...yet). Let me save you the trouble of doing all that searching yourself and share some links with you.

* First things first, you'll need an account with Photobucket or Flickr in order to snag a url (web address) for the pictures you choose once you get started*

It can be confusing reading tutorials/help pages if you're not sure what the different parts of your blog are called (main, header, body, footer etc). Take a quick peek here for a simple explanation.

Split Decisionz provides a really simple (compared to others) tutorial for changing your background. Be sure to check out her other tips as well, she has some great helpful hints AND some free templates!

Free Patterns for Backgrounds *save the patterns you like to your photo sharing account and then you'll be able to access the url needed as described in the tutorial by Split Decisionz*
Squid Finger (download patterns from the site and then upload to your photo account)
Citrus Moon
(right click and 'Save As' on any pattern you like, then upload to your photo account

Free Photos *sites with photos you can download for free which can be used in headers, posts etc. without worry of copyright infringement - the 'eyes' pic in my header was from one of these sites*
Free Stock Photography

Tips and Tricks with Blogger
Our Blogger Templates - lots of free templates to save you the trouble of creating your own and loads of tutorials and tips if you decide to take the 'do it yourself' plunge
Blog U - pretty easy to follow and he'll answer your questions!
Beta Blogger for Dummies - there is way too much info on this blog so it can be slow but if you find what you need the explanations are easy to follow

Playing with the design of your blog takes time so don't expect to make big changes super quick the first or second time you try. I'm certainly not an expert, I've spent loads of time tonight trying to figure out what html code is creating that faint blue highlighting you see below and have finally given up for now! That being said, I am fumbling my way through the process of personalizing blogs and will try to help you out if you have a problem, so please just ask!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

In a Daze

Nothing could kill the mood I'm in right now. I opened my mailbox today to find the best news EVER! I am one of 70 students who have been accepted at the university I've been crossing my fingers and toes hoping to get into! It's real now, I'm going to teacher's college this September!!

I can't stop grinning and I feel like I'm floating! Life is good!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tantalizing Tuesday

The sweetest thing I can share with you this week is found in the post below: super sweet but for hugging and kissing only, please no chomping the baby.

If you have a chocolate chip muffin lover in your household you'll have to give this recipe a shot. I have made three batches o in the last seven days, you guessed it: the man loves chocolate chip muffins - oink oink. I'm now the muffin baker extraordinaire. Thankfully it's a quick and easy recipe.

Chocolate Chip Mmmmuffins
found on my latest 'great find' recipe site: RecipeZaar

What you need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light-brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
optional: 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Grease 12 muffin tins
3. In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients
4. In another bowl mix together wet ingredients
5. Make a well in center of dry stuff and add the wet, stir just until it's combined - don't go crazy!
6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes
8. Remove muffins tin to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes
9. Remove muffins from tin to finish cooling
10. Serve warm! Super delish.

The only thing that makes me go 'meh' about these muffins is the fact that they are pretty dense, more like a scone than a muffin. The positive to that is that the chocolate chips float throughout the muffin rather than sinking to the bottom.

Apparently I'll be making chocolate chip muffins on a weekly basis now, does anyone have any good choc. chip muffin recipes?


I have had such a great few weeks and it has been topped off with an unexpected visit from Cara! I thought I was going to have to wait until May to meet my new niece - niece not by blood or marriage but by love and friendship - but thanks to Herwig having to head this way for business Cara came home much sooner! Yay! Of course she brought Miss. Rosemarie Olivia Anna, aka Rosie, along for the ride!

I'm smitten. She's perfect and I can't stop staring at her.

Truly a beautiful baby girl... and I think she likes me! I had Cara and Rosie all to myself last night and enjoyed every single minute of our time together.

Here's the fabulous mama and her little nut! Cara I'm so proud of you, you're such a good mom!

This shot makes me laugh, the flash was a little too bright I think.

Take a good look at this face ladies and gentlemen because she's destined for greatness!