Ten New Things 2013 – 2

Continued…

6. Getting married – Aug 25, 2013

Arguably the best day of my life.  I seriously could not have imagined a better day for our wedding.  We had a great time and our friends and family had a great time.   The food and drink were delicious, the weather was wonderful and the setting perfect. Growing up, I never had a clue what I wanted my wedding to look like and I was sure I would be really indecisive about the whole thing up until the end.  But once we were engaged, I couldn’t have had a clearer sense of what I wanted. And everything we hoped to have to make the wedding unique was do-able, including bringing in craft beer, having a gift card toss instead of a bouquet toss and having the photographers I had been eyeing up for the past year (The Nickersons).  Now four months have past and things are going really well.  Dave and I seem like two peas in a pod.

7. Adult furniture and decorating our own place

I have never had a home of my own to decorate, I mean paint the walls, put up shelves, renovate bathrooms, etc.  And suddenly, Dave and I have that.  We waited until after we were married and living together to do make any changes to our place.  We picked out furniture (not from Ikea!) and have put up shelves and have future plans to redo the bathroom, change light fixtures, etc.  It really feels great to come home to a space that we have purposefully designed to our liking.  It may sound basic, but we even painted a wall, and I have never painted a wall.  Such a minor thing, but it made a noticeable difference.  It’s exciting to think of the things that we can do in the next couple years to continue to make this space our nest of relaxation and comfort and to make it a place for friend and family to come and stay.  I’m happy to show it off the work we have done and the thought and effort we put into it.  Here are a couple pictures from our living room area.

8. Buying our first Christmas tree

Growing up on a Christmas tree farm, I’ve never had to buy a tree, let alone go and pick one out.  Dad always used to cut our family tree in November and it appeared on the back porch for us to bring inside and set up.  This year, Dave and I went and picked our own.  It was fun to do, allowed us to practice teamwork (we survived!) and Dave ended up taking the lead with the decorating!  Who knew he would enjoy it so much.  It looks and smells great!  Plantation fir, you are serving us well.

9. Playing Rockband

Can you believe I have never played it?  Amazing, I know.  I mean, they don’t even make the game anymore.  I mustered up the courage at our work Christmas party and got on the drums.  (I always wanted to play the drums.) Didn’t do really great, but it was fun having people cheer me on and I seriously wanted to keep going so I could get better. Alas, I’ll probably never play again.

10. Making cinnamon buns with my sister

Bre and I have rarely cooked anything together.  Growing up mom did the cooking and we stayed out of the kitchen unless it was time to clean up after dinner.  And with Bre living in Germany it means even fewer chances that we would end up in the kitchen together, but this Christmas we did.  I had never made cinnamon buns before, but Bre had made them a few times from the Looney Spoons cookbook (of course).  So we made them.  There have been very, very few times that I have made bread, perhaps the first was in my bread making class back at the start of the year.  Yeast scares me a little. The buns turned out great and we worked well in the kitchen together without fighting once…and we can fight.  Maybe with getting older the fight has left us and the patience for each other is setting in.

It has been a wonderful year with some of the biggest changes of my life.  I can’t wait for the new things to come in 2014 including a trip to Australia that is sure to rack up several firsts, including cooking lamb and perhaps a trip to a 2-3 hatted restaurant while we are there.  It will be another gastronomic adventure with some beautiful sites and friends along the way.  I can’t wait for 2014 to start!

PS – A new camera is soon on it’s way.  Can you tell I need something better than my phone!?!

Ten New Things 2013 – 1

It has been a crazy year to say the least.  I did some major new things this year that will effect my life for a long time.  One was getting married of course.  I’d say this year was a year of life changes and commitments.  Here we go!

1. Taking professional cooking lessons – Jan – Mar

It would be hard to list all the new cooking techniques I learned and tried in this class, but a few include, pasta making, killing a crab to make crab cakes, deboning a pork chop, learning knife skills, making all kinds of French dishes I’ve never made (coq au vin, duck confit, ratatouille), shucking oysters, making pizza dough.  

Over all it expanded my food horizons greatly, and with these classes and the copious amounts of Masterchef Australia I have been watching and food books I have been reading my cooking has improved immensely.  Just ask Dave, he’ll vouch for me.  I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that, I can make anything I set my mind too. 

2. Publishing my first knitting pattern

In January, I designed and published my first pattern called Adera.  It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed most of it.  I put a second pattern out shortly after in February called Keefer.  I sold both on Ravelry, which adds over 200 new patterns a day (kind of crazy and easy for your pattern to get lost).  To date I sold 20 of the paid pattern (Adera) and have had over 400 downloads of my free pattern (Keefer).  What can I say people like free stuff.  Will I continue to make patterns?  I don’t know.  You really need a collection to make any impact in sales, so people can get to know your designs and style, but I don’t know how much I really loved it.  I do have some more ideas in my mind, so we’ll see what happens in 2014.

Adera – left, Keefer – right

3. Getting engaged – Feb 19

I knew at Christmas last year that this was going to happen, but I didn’t know it would be before March.  Dave loves a good surprise and surprise he did.  It was a well thought out proposal and it involved some of my favourite people (the Men of Marpole).  This, of course set off a whole long list of new things to do, including wedding dress shopping, designing invites, and working together to get the day planned how we wanted it, and it was awesome. More on this later.

4. Learned to ski – Jan/Feb

I had skiied a couple times in Ontario, but nothing like what I did out here.  My friend Trudy and I signed up for Never Ever Days and we ended up spending three days on the slopes getting the basics of skiing down at Whistler of all places.  How blessed we are to live so close to one of the best ski destinations on the planet.  There were falls, tears, cheers and aches, but I can’t wait to practice what I learned this year.  Dave and I bought new equipment (he had been borrowing and I had been renting) with some of our wedding money, and now we can share this activity with each other and several of our friends.  It’s going to be a great winter!

5. Bought a home – May

I knew with a wedding date looming that it was time to get a bigger place.  My basement apartment had served me well for 4 years, but it was really time to move on and move up (from a basement).  I really didn’t want to have to live in my little apartment once Dave and I were married.  It would get crowded fast.  So we started looking in April with a deadline of the end of June.  After that it would just be too much to take on with the wedding planning.  Thankfully, it didn’t take very long at all to find the perfect place just 7 blocks from where I was before and still on Main St., the location we both love.  Funny enough, we are only a short walk from where I was, yet I have an all new coffee shop, bakery, deli, grocery store, etc. to go to.  

Christmas is Here!

Happy Holidays everyone!  I know it is still the start of December, but Christmas parties and in full swing and our condo is finally decorated.  There is a nip in the air and I need some caffeine (that’s all year round, but whatever).  Here are some pictures of how we decorated on a budget.  

First our Christmas Tree, which took a little investment, we didn’t have a tree stand so we got a good one that will last and was really easy to use, then Nov 30th, when trees finally went for sale around the city, we picked up a beautiful Plantation Fir, which I had never heard of but looks similar to a Balsam, though it has a peppery smell.  The picture below doesn’t do it much justice, but the one above is a nice one Dave took of it all lit up.

I also did up some bunting for the fireplace and pulled out my yarn ball wreath, which matches our walls really well.  Below that is a wreath we got at the Make It! craft sale two weekends ago.  I was so excited to have something on our doors, as many of our neighbours seem to have adorned their doors as well. (Please excuse the colour, it was taken at night and the hall lighting isn’t good.)

I also did a ton of Christmas baking on my flex day last week.  I made a Triple Citrus-Coconut Shortbread Bars (Key’s to the Kitchen), Almond Rocha (courtesy of Erin Nesbit), Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Pudding (Looney Spoons) and Triple Layer Bars (courtesy of Kathryn Adams).  This is the first year I have done Christmas baking, which is kind of crazy, but I have so many get togethers coming up it just made sense to have things on hand.  Of course that is if they last long enough in the fridge.  There is a 5’5″ mouse that sneaks things from time to time.

That’s all for now.  I’m going to try to get my Ten New Things list out next and then take a break over Christmas.  But I’ll leave you with this really fun, silly video from the one, the only, Stephen West, knitter extraordinaire – Pom Pom It