Thursday, December 30, 2010

roast beast solstice

This year my husband and I decided to host a roast beast dinner, a la Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The Christmas season gets to be so busy and we thought it would be fun to take the time to eat, drink and be merry with a bunch of our friends. It also happened to fall on solstice, which as most of you know, also included a really cool lunar eclipse. So we had a double celebration. Food, friends, Christmas and days getting longer.

About a week before the occasion, I got a little creative and decided that we needed some pretty napkins and such to set the mood. I had been hoarding my collection of Hope Valley fabrics, thinking I would turn it into a quilt. But after 8 months, I hadn't even cut into the stack and had rethought the quilt as perhaps a bit girly for my husband.

Inspiration! Purl Soho put up a linen thanksgiving napkin tutorial a while back and I loved it! Of course, I never got around to making any. Then I saw that I had a stack of Hope Valley, and about 10 billion yards of Kona Snow and I knew what to do.

I started cutting, ironing, ironing, ironing, ironing (seriously, there is a lot of ironing involved) and stitching. FOURTEEN napkins later, I have a gorgeous set! I loved the tutorial, it was easy to follow, but my only caution is this: it's a LOT of freaking yardage. Each napkin needs a 1/2 yard total. So seriously, I used up 7 yards of fabric for my set.

After the napkins were done I had a pile of pretty scraps, so I thought, "why not make a table runner to match?". Voila. Done.


I am in love. At first, I thought I might be a little crazy for using so much white in napkins, but a little Shout before the wash, and they are perfect and spotless and pretty all over again.

Hope Valley Table Runner & Napkins

As for the event, it was super fun. I forgot to take photos, and so did my other picture taking friend for the most part. Alexandra did manage to snap one or two, which I have since stolen from her Facebook (thanks Alex!)

Thank you to all of our friends who came to eat and brought all sorts of yummy food and drink. We will surely be doing this again next year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

happiness and cheer

This Christmas was a good one. The only downside was I was missing my family. Unlike last year, where we hosted 10 people (I guess we only hosted 8, since we were the other 2) we had just 3 other people this time around. Quiet, but fun.

My husband and I had decided ahead of time that we wouldn't be giving each other gifts this year. Partially that was a financial decision, since we are trying to be as frugal as possible while he finishes school, but mostly it was a "why pay ridiculous prices to get each other something when we could go shopping during boxing week" decision.

As it turned out, we have some extremely generous family members and employers. Our grandparents and aunt and uncle sent some money our way, and I was completely overwhelmed by an extremely generous bonus from each of the families that I work for. We decided that with all that money, we would go on vacation. We aren't sure where or when yet, or whether we even have enough but we are sure going to try! It looks like maybe Mexico or the Dominican for a week in March, which will be perfect because frankly, the thaw doesn't even start in Calgary until May most years.

Here are some highlights from Christmas:

New Camera!

A new camera! How lucky am I? I have been wanting to move a step up from the Kodak camera Joel and I have been using since our honeymoon. It's a good little camera, but limited. My step-dad is a camera nut and replaces his regularly. Lucky for all us kids, he is super kind and hands all his cameras down to us. It had been a while since I had received one, so he sent me the Canon sx10is for Christmas! It has been super fun learning to use it (I still have a lot to learn) and even inspired me to try out the 365 photo project. Check out the Flickr stream for that.


Moccasins! My parents love handmade and local items, and picked up a pair of moccasins for Joel, my brother and I. They are deliciously soft and comfy and I wish I could wear them absolutely everywhere.

Also in the footwear category:

Slouchy Boots

New slouchy boots! Not Uggs, which is perfectly fine with me since Uggs are SO slippery, I almost die every time I put them on. These are cozy knitted sketchers with a real tread on them. I really needed some new boots and these are perfect. Not actually a Christmas gift, but my mom sent them out with the Christmas box.

Gift Card FTW

A $200 gift card to either of the two biggest malls in the city. Seriously. Part of the bonus I got from one of my families, they specified that I should treat myself to something out of the ordinary for me like a BCBG dress or a new purse. Excited!

Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples. Have you played this?? So fun, I can't even describe. Perfect with older kids, or friends and coincidentally, (if you are so inclined) the more you drink, the more fun it is. We played this on Christmas day for almost 3 hours.

Finally, not in the material objects category, but a gift non-the-less, spending time with my hubby. He finished up all of his course work and internship hours by the 23rd, and it's been pure relaxation since then. He has until the 3rd to continue relaxing, but then it's back to hard work and long days for him!

Bothers in Law

It was also super fun spending time with my brother. As we've gotten older we've spent less time together even though we live in the same city. We both have strong (and very similar) personalities so it's easy for us to get on each other's nerves quickly. But this was almost 3 days of fun. I'm glad we can have Christmas together.

For christmas my brother gave me two things: Glee Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack (random but cool!) and a shopping trip with him. He is a super geeky cool dresser with a bit of an Elvis Costello flair and it is really fun to shop with him. We went to Chinook Centre on the 27th to check out the new wing with all the awesome American additions such as Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Fossil. I picked up a pair of skinny jeans, a belt and a cozy sweater from American Eagle, and another pair of jeans from Urban Outfitters, which I have now decided to exchange for a sweater. Oh well, a good excuse to go back to such a cool store. Here's my weird self portrait of the outfit I'm keeping:

New Clothes!

I did some sewing for presents. Actually quite a bit of sewing, and the last of it is sitting downstairs waiting to be finished. I'll post about all the handmade gifts when the last one is done.

Also, look forward to a year in review post. :)

I hope each and every one of you had a fantastic Christmas (if that's what you celebrate) and got to enjoy some rest and relaxation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like


Actually, for the most part, it looks a bit more like winter in our house. My husband and I have an ongoing disagreement about how the Christmas tree should be decorated. Not an actual fight or a serious cause of tension, but we just seem to have very different ideas on the subject. So, the plan is that we switch years. Every other year I get to choose how the tree is decorated. Actually, last year we got a second tree, so we switch trees each year now. This year is Joel's turn to decorate our big tree upstairs. And now how much I whined, he insisted on making it a blue tree. I complained that since the tree was pre-lit with soft white lights that blue wouldn't look good, but then 3 of the 7 strands in the tree went out and so I pulled them all off and made it a regular fake tree. (Oh yes, and got a huge rash on my arms and hands from it!)

Christmas Tree 2010

After all my complaining, the tree is spectacular! So spectacular in fact that I have publicly admitted it! And asked him to take over the primary tree decorating from now on. Who knew?

Kitten Christmas

We do have our second tree set up downstairs and it's a more traditional tree filled with all of our random, special and miscellaneous ornaments.

Christmas Tree 2010

Some other hints of the holiday season have been popping up around our house too. Check out our cool advent calendar!


Plus our neat little (HUGE) nutcracker.

And the other day I got bored during a half day off work and made these cool paper wreaths!

Winter Decorations

I really want to get around to making a Christmas quilt one of these days. I have pulled some non-holiday themed fabrics in red and white, plus a couple of holiday pieces and I'm hoping to get working on it soon. But here's my dilemma with Christmas quilts. It would kill me to work so hard and have to put it away for 10 months a year! Is it wrong to keep a Christmas quilt out all year round?

Also, sorry for being so absent these last few weeks (months?) It's been busy, I've been feeling a tad uninspired. But I have been getting lots of work done, so hopefully more posts on that later. Thanks for being patient and sticking around!

P.S. Sorry for the photo quality. Low light and all that.