December 31, 2010

New Year's Wishes


Here is a little ditty I couldn't get out of my mind lately.  So hopefully you also have good luck next year, without a single curve thrown in your way!

Short-term and Long-term Resolutions

I tend to think of New Year's resolutions as not necessarily having to be completed in a one-year time frame.  Life is a work in progress, so resolutions should be the same.  I had a resolution about 4 or 5 years ago to be able to run 10 kilometres comfortably (i.e. not feeling like I was going to die afterwards!)  I didn't actually achieve that goal that particular year; but have run about 4 10K races since then.  
My next running goal is to run a half-marathon.  This isn't necessarily a New Year's resolution, but I hope to start training for it this year; but won't beat myself up if it doesn't actually get completed this year.
But I do have a few short term resolutions.  These aren't life-changing or difficult things to do, but I hope to get to them in the next few months.

1. Blog.  Restart the "reducing myself Monday" posts, to keep a focus on my eating and exercising. Add newly discovered blogs to my blog list.
2. Exercise. Re-join belly dancing classes.  First class is next Friday. 
3. Entertainment. Organize a board games night.
4. DeCluttering. Clean out my work office; donate books.
5. Food.  Discover and cook new vegan recipes.

December 30, 2010

Skiing and Lazing

I've been on vacation since the 22nd, but I worked this morning and have to work again tomorrow to get ready for next semester, which starts on Tuesday!  We've done some skiing, and went again this afternoon, but I have to admit that I've been really lazy over the holidays as well!
The dog and myself.
Happy Boy!  Stepping on the tracks as usual!
But I'm not going to feel bad about lazing around.  Sometimes you need a period of sluggishness to get refreshed and motivated again.  And, I discovered a whole bunch of reality TV shows that are right up my alley; used goods, thriftiness and mid-century.  

First of all, I've been watching American Pickers on History Television.  This is a show that Hus has been watching with me since the picking pair often come across old Harley Davidsons, scooters etc.  Mike and Frank have a good rapport and I love Mike Wolf's laugh!  Not nearly as likeable are the crew on Storage Wars on A&E.  The only redeeming feature of this show, which focuses on four rather obnoxious guys trying to outbid each other in auctions on abandoned storage locker contents, is the mystery of what will be found in the storage lockers.  I also came across What the Sell? on TLC, which is about three generations of women who run a consignment shop dealing in antique furniture, art, jewellery and collectables.

Thriftiness is at the heart of Victorian Farm, since the three scholars have to recreate modest life on an English Victorian Farm.  From medical remedies, to animal husbandry, to clothing and food, they have to use what is at their disposal.  It is a very charming show which hearkens back to a simpler life.  The link above brings you to Youtube where someone has uploaded the whole series. 

On the complete flipside, I also watched Extreme Couponing last night which I found somewhat unsettling.  It was about four Americans who save thousands of dollars on groceries by bundling up coupons/sales to pay the least amount possible.  That level of dedication and thriftiness is intriguing and I can understand the 'game' and the 'rush' of it, but the amount of over-packaged products they had stockpiled seemed a bit over-the-top.  Although the show never mentioned it, it was also a reminder of the way brands try to entice new customers with coupons for new and over-processed products, and that it is the death of the production economy and the rise of the consumer economy that drives the relentless creation of new food and beauty products.  But, who am I to talk, since my blog is mainly about stuff!  At least the participants donate their excess to food banks. The show will be repeated several times this week on TLC if you missed it.  Here is one of the participants on Youtube:

And finally, there was an interesting documentary on the origins of Tupperware called Tupperware!.  This link will take you to a promo of the film.  It is narrated by Kathy Bates and is more about the female workforce that Tupperware's female Vice President, Brownie Wise, created in the early 1950s through the Tupperware Party.  She pioneered many of the multi-level marketing strategies which are still common today in all sorts of sales.  If you have a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.
Well, I suppose I should get off the couch now and write some New Year's resolutions that don't involve sitting in front of the TV!

December 29, 2010

Good Deeds go rewarded

The other day Hus and I went out cross country skiing.  Although the snow was a bit sticky it was wonderful and the dog loves jumping into the snowbanks lining the trail. 
While we were loading our skis in the back of the truck, a lady sheepishly approached me to ask if she could borrow my ski poles, since she had forgotten hers.  No problem.  We live in a small town so I figured that I probably knew of her or her family.  But I didn't.  She had just moved here from Vancouver, so I had to welcome her with a show of Northern friendliness.
When she dropped the poles off to Hus later in the afternoon, she reciprocated with a $20 Tim Horton's gift card!  This was totally unexpected and not necessary; but I guess a little kindness and trust goes a long way!

December 28, 2010

Pyrex Presents

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!  I thought I would share some pictures of the vintage presents I scored.  I received two pyrex bowls matching the only pyrex I already have....
Thanks mom and sis!  My one sister also gave me a 70s Goebel piggy bank which matches the fishy bank I have had since childhood....
And my other sister gave Hus this swinging cocktail tray....

I guess the red noses are the 1950s equivalent of a health warning!

December 21, 2010

Collection of Christmas Ornaments

We put the Christmas tree up this weekend....
And after it was done, I realized that there were only 6 ornaments that I purchased at a retail store.  The others were gifts, handmade or bought used.  The (leaning) topper was a gift from my mother-in-law.  It was the tree topper Hus grew up with when his family was stationed in (West) Germany in the 1970s.  The other gifted ornaments came from my family.  Each Christmas, my mom gave us an ornament for our collection, many have the dates written somewhere on them.
Mom and Dad also made some ornaments for us when we were children including painted walnuts and angels.

 I remember the year mom made these angels to sell at craft fairs.  She carefully made the heads and hands out of fimo clay (each with a different hairstyle!), and scrounged around anywhere she could for inexpensive lace and ribbons for the dresses.  I have about 4 others on the tree.
I also have my own crafty ornaments on it.  Last year, I found a whole stack of Christmas cards that I had collected and by carefully cutting out small circles and bending them, I transformed them into about a dozen ornaments.

This year, I only had the energy to make this one felt dove.
Finally, there are a few used ornaments adorning the tree like this leg-hugging elf.  I picked it up at a garage sale a few years ago for a dime.  I thought it was cute, but only recently (due to reading blogs) did I find out that these are highly prized.
So maybe our Christmas tree is a bit schizophrenic, but I love all the memories associated with it!

December 09, 2010

Atomic Ranch

Atomic Ranch is my favourite magazine, and I just got the most recent issue!  Since it is a quarterly magazine, I end up reading the entire thing just waiting for the next one to arrive.
 I am not a big reader of other decorating/design magazines.  Hus used to buy Dwell and a few others, but I find them somewhat pretentious.  What I love about Atomic Ranch is that the mid-century homes that are featured were usually just modest family homes at the time they were constructed.  I also love that they feature homes lovingly restored by real people.  Some have financial constraints and the homes are featured as works-in-progress; some are collectors and flea market rummagers whose tastes are mid-century, and some just want a family home with some style.  
I loved the above issue, since the family strove to keep the kitchen as original as possible, including the wall-oven.  They found this one online for $20; but with shipping it cost as much as a new stove.  I bet dollar-for-dollar this one will outlast anything they could have bought new!

December 05, 2010

Weekend Round-up

This post doesn't have a particular theme, rather it is a round-up of some of the things I did this weekend.  On Saturday I hit the thrifts, but only made one purchase for $1.  This Moosewood 'cookbook', or rather recipe-easel....
I love the Moosewood cookbooks. This is now my fourth.  In fact, I made potato Latkes and gingered beets this weekend from my Sundays at Moosewood book.

After the thrift shops, I ended up at the United Church for a tea and bazaar.  I never quite know what bazaar means; I had hoped for used goods, but it was a craft and bake sale.  Nevertheless, I wasn't disappointed.  I bought some Christmas crackers from some crafty kids....
 I usually make my own, but it ruins the surprise.  Now, I'll have to wait until Christmas to find out what is inside!  I also bought some baking and pickled carrots.  I arrived about ten minutes after the bazaar opened and it was busy, things were flying off tables.  The parking lot was so packed, that there was a fender bender behind me as I was leaving!  I guess people in my small town are starved for Christmas crafts!
Today I wrapped up the last of the gifts that I have to send away.  I haven't purchased new wrapping paper for about a decade.  Hus and I always unwrap our gifts carefully, so as to reuse the paper.  I love Christmas, but hate the waste that goes with it.  But, I did make one recent wrapping paper purchase - thrifted of course!
I think this paper is from the 1980s.  It is very cheerful, but I'm not sure if I can ever come to actually use it.  That is the one bad thing about vintage paper goods.