January 12, 2014

Welcome Back to 2014!

Hello, hello!

It's been a while, eh?  I hope you've all had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season.  I spent 2.5 weeks back in Canada over Christmas and New Years.  We had some pretty extreme weather - perhaps you've also experienced it, too.  Two days after I flew in we were hit with a 3-day long ice storm that coated everything with a solid inch and a half to two inches of ice.  This led to snapped hydro wires and falling trees, which left close to a hundred thousand Ontarians without power, some for as long as a week and a half.  Surprisingly, despite my parents living out in the middle of no where, we were quite lucky and only lost power for about an hour and a half on the Friday and six hours in the early morning on Saturday.  We hunkered down and waited out the storm, then had the joy of chipping out the driveway - I took the sledgehammer to it and have a great photo of me brandishing my toy (along with 9 - yes *9* blisters!).

I also experienced my first frost quake.  Never heard of a frost quake?  Me neither (nor anyone else I know) but in a nutshell, it's when it's so cold out that the ground water freezes rather suddenly and then the surrounding earth around it breaks and shifts, causing a loud boom and quake.  This happened one of the days (can't remember which) around 11pm in Toronto and despite my parents' house being more than a hour's drive away from the city, we heard and felt the frost quake!  We actually thought at the time that it was one of the tree limbs breaking from the weight of the ice and landing on the roof but thankfully not.

And finally, did you hear that's it's been colder in Canada than on Mars?  Seriously!  On my way back into Toronto for my flight home to Sweden, it was a bone-chilling -31C!  My mum has since emailed me to say that it's been -40C for several days.  That's cold even for Canucks (but we're still out braving the weather).  ;)

Anyway, back here in tropical 7C Sweden, I've been working on putting some plans - I hesitate to call them actual resolutions at this point - into work.

1. Try new recipes AKA get back on track with cooking & eating properly/weight loss.  I've long been a fan of Janet & Greta Podleski's Looneyspoons cookbooks and for Christmas I received their newest book, The Looneyspoons Collection.  I have a goal to make at least one new recipe a month, but ideally I'd like to try one a week.

So far so good - last week I made Fee, Fie, Faux Fried Chicken and OMG, I may have fallen in love!  I mean, look at it:

Serious love affair.  You may just want to join me on this one.  And I've gotten back into cooking regularly at home - the whole bathroom reno nightmare caused problems with that for a long time and bad habits formed but no more!  I've also balanced in 1-2 vegetarian days a week and today I picked up some Kravg yoghurt (vanilla flavoured), recommended by a friend - it's extremely high in protein (6.2g) while extremely low in fat (0.2g) and it was super yummy!  So I'm swapping out my usual fruit yoghurt with breakfast for some vanilla Kravg.

2. Set up a proper sewing station and scrapbooking station.  So last year I didn't get much sewing done.  To be fair, it's challenging to juggle two crafty hobbies and scrapbooking has a lot more immediate satisfaction, since I can start and complete a page a day, compared to a quilt that takes (for me) months.  Part of this problem, however, is that I have no dedicated sewing area so I have to drag out the machine and supplies every time I want to sew and then put them all back and that's just a hassle.

So the new plan is to clean off the computer desk in the living room (which hasn't really been used except as a massive dumping ground since I changed from a desktop computer to a laptop), remove the shelving unit from the top and then swing the desk around to stand behind and parallel to the chaise lounge of my sofa.  This will give me a corner of the living room to work and I'll be able to look out into the room (or watch a bit of telly while sewing) instead of facing a wall.

Current desk disaster - hopefully soon-to-be sewing corner!

And for scrapbooking, I'm going to invest in the Ikea wooden kitchen island I've been wanting to use.  So far I've practised using my ironing board, set at the same height and it's worked really well for my style of work so now I just need to commit to the idea.

Today in preparation of re-doing this sewing room corner, I spent two hours hauling pieces of an old wardrobe out of my attic storage into a rubbish container.  It was a wee bit grueling, to say the least, but now I have a good chunk of space to put the unnecessary shelf from the desk up there and really start making progress on this plan.

Well, that's what I've been up to since returning from holiday.  No crafty goodness yet but I'll keep you posted.  Cheers!