Stationary Drifting


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Eating: Apple Cider Caramels (more from homemade holidays)

apple cider caramelsI LOVE smitten kitchen, I’ve posted stuff of Deb’s many times (like here, here, and here). The recipes she creates are low maintenance, usually from things I have around the house (depending on if I have groceries at that particular point), and always delicious. I had the pleasure of flipping through her cookbook a while back and lemmetellyouwhat. Its amazing. I can’t wait to get my grubby little kitchen hands on it.

I made these Apple Cider Caramels as part of my homemade holidays challenge. My step-dad is a hard guy to buy for but he does love candy because he can’t eat chocolate anymore. They went over well, he was touched I made something for him and happy with the gift. Their fanciness to time ratio is awesome. People are pretty impressed by all the individually wrapped and handmade candies, though I think it took me less than 2 hrs to make and all with common ingredients.

These were straight forward to make, even without investing in a candy thermometer. Mine turned out a little soft so maybe I need to reduce them down a little more next time. They were ridiculously delicious though and much appreciated in my house and my mom’s. Mars was a little sad that I didn’t make any for him so I snuck a few in his stocking.


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Best Of: February

best of_feb collage
For such a short month February sure seemed long. I always feel this way about February though, when I’m dying from the cold and grey. February is the month that I most want to hibernate. Its too far past the holidays to still have that excitement in my system and too far from spring to feel like winter might possibly end. I still had an interesting month regardless of that. Mars and I took a short trip to Ottawa, I started swimming a few times a week to beat the trap of living and working in the same place and the inertia that came with that. I started thinking about what it means to be truly happy in what I do (no answers to that yet though, I image it will take more than a month), Mars and I had a really cute, at home, homemade Valentine’s day. It snowed A LOT. I baked a fair bit. February in a nutshell.

Here are some highlights:

Life:

pool triptech

Mars and I drove up to Ottawa for the weekend. He took me on a date to a pool hall and we both discovered we are far FAR worse at pool than either of us imagined (and I had no illusions of being a pool shark). It was super funny and I think we scandalized the other patrons by laughing so much…and kissing.

I’ve been working on creating a schedule for myself so that I am in a routine. Working from home is a trap of constantly flexible time and its easy to sleep in really late, get groceries at 9pm, clean the house at 3pm on a wednesday, etc. I’m trying to create a work/life/play schedule that is regular and consistent. I hear that that’s good for me or whatever. Part of this is getting exercise so I started taking myself off to the pool 3 times a week to swim 45mins of laps. Its a nice quiet time where I can kind of zone my brain out and remind my body that as much as I’d like to be hibernating, I’m not that kind of creature. Mars and I have been huge homebodies this month, partly because we’re broke and partly because its winter. We’re both working away on projects, watching a fair bit of netflix and having couch dates. Sometimes its nice to not go out for a while.

Crafts:

With the exception of massive amount of sewing I started on the night of the last day of Feb (and am therefore counting as a March activity). The only thing I think I made this month was the crochet heart mobile for Mars’ Valentine’s day present. Which I mostly made in January anyway. It was a variation of this pattern but I’m not much for following patterns (with the exception of lace, I don’t toy with those patterns!) so I can’t exactly say out to make it. Basically I made a bunch of hearts of different sizes, then made a crocheted top part (based kind of on this collar pattern). I attached the hearts to the top and to each other with crochet chains. That’s it! It took a while to make, partly because I was hiding it from Mars but it was nice to do in front of tv shows at night (I’m not super good at just sitting and watching tv without doing anything else).

Sorry for the fuzzy phone photo, its all I have.

Photo 2013-03-03 2 19 18 PM

Books:

I’m still reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith on my kobo. I’m going to have to pick up the pace a little if I want to reach my reading goal for the year. I’m enjoying the book but I have been busy with other things (and reading things on the internet). I mostly only read when I’m on the metro.

Photography:

I’ve recently become a huge fan of astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield who is currently in space and is taking absolutely incredible photos of the earth. He posts several a day to his facebook page and I check them every day. They are humbling and beautiful. A daily reminder that the world is a really special place.

Here’s an example from yesterday of the southernmost tip of Canada (click the photo to be taken to the source):

Recipes:

(photo belongs to smitten kitchen. Click to be taken to the site/recipe)

I love soup in the fall/winter and this carrot soup with lemon tahini and crisped chickpeas from smitten kitchen is my new absolute favourite. The lemon tahini is what really makes it. The light lemon flavour and the creaminess of the tahini in the soup is amazing. I had some difficulty with the chickpeas because they kept popping like pop corn in my oven and I was afraid of causing a fire so they didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked them. But still a nice texture. I made it with this flat bread (also from smitten kitchen) instead of pita because its fast and a staple in our house. We eat it a couple of times a week usually.

Music:

I was introduced to songza this past month and have been obsessed with it ever since. Its a curated site of SO many playlists. Basically when I log in it asks me what kind of mood I’m in then suggests playlists that work for that mood. I’ve been discovering lots of new (to me) music in between listening to hours and hours of 90ies jams. I’ve been on songza about a week and have a whole bunch of playlists saved. I think songza is my favourite new music this past month but here are some individual artists that got me toe tapping.

Nerina Pallot

Haim

So long February. Looking forward to March, I can feel the spring in the air….


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Homemade Holidays: Valentine’s Day

valentine's dayI never used to be much of a Valentine’s Day person before I started dating Mars. In fact I can’t remember ever celebrating with anyone other than my mom before. Mars changed that in my life because he’s a true romantic and even though I protested at first I knew it really loved it so now I’m a Valentine’s day person. Who knew that would happen? Its cute though because it kind of feels like every year is a celebration of our time together and of celebrating itself!

This year was our 3rd Valentine’s day together. We tend to celebrate with sweet gestures for each other and homemade gifts. Above is my love mobile for Mars. I crocheted a little red hearts for every month that we’ve been together and 3 hearts of different colours to represent each of our Valentine’s days together (using a variation of this pattern). Then I made a little scalloped top and crochet chained each heart up to to the top.

Then I hung it above the table and set it up for a nice breakfast with homemade Strawberry Chocolate Scones (using a variation of this recipe from madebyandi), homemade mocha lattes and a little card of the variety that I usually made Mars. Hand-drawn on a small blank cue card.

IMG_2118IMG_2123I took care of the morning and Mars took care of the evening with an at-home spa treatment including a massage, and a mani/pedi with chocolates, candles and music. He also made me a really awesome painting of my name. The whole thing was lovely.

Homemade holidays take a little more work and a little more time but in the end they can be really fun, inexpensive, and from the heart (most important).

We ain’t got money but we got a lot of love.

keetha base


Broken computer and other bits

So hey, thanks for still coming by. I have a ton of things to say and some recipes and tons of crafts, especially body care stuff that I would love to share but my computer is broken and that stuff is pretty hard to share otherwise. I should be getting my hard drive replaced soon (worst timing for an extra expense) and hopefully can write more and post my results over the holidays.

These days I’ve been busy with end of semester marking (boooooring), trying to stay awake when the sun doesn’t really come up, stressing over our December finances (man the end of the year is always SO pricey), getting excited to go out west for the holidays and show my hometowns to M, and making presents.

I’ve decided to call it homemade holidays and am working on making gifts for just about everyone. I don’t intend to buy much. Except supplies of course. So there will be a bunch of craft projects up after the gifts have been given because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Needless to say that it’s fun, if a little stressful.

Off to my buddy Mood’s birthday in a few minutes and I’m reflecting on the 8 (?) years or so that i’ve known him. Thinking about what a good guy he is and how happy I am he’s in my life. Tiny ode to Mood.