Fall Goals Update

Saturday, December 11, 2010

As I mentioned before, it's winter and there is no way I'm getting everything on my list crossed off. But some things are works in progress, so I thought I would do an update...

Done! I've been going to yoga two or three times a week and loving it. I keep telling myself I'll start actually working out on of these days but I just like yoga so much better.

Done! Kind of. Still going to my morning classes and hopefully I'll pass my level 2 exam at the end of January. Then I'll see if I want to continue or not. I'm still really liking learning Danish and think I'm finally getting better.

Done! This is actually going really well, I love biking! I'm so surprised how much I've come to like it after being so scared and stressed. And I've only had one little wipeout because of some ice and snow.

Done! I'm still working at Cafe Retro and will be starting Sunday Crafternoons in January where there will be open workshops and tutorials for people to work on creative projects together. There are also lots of exciting exhibitions and events scheduled for 2011. I'm also still interning at IMO projects, which was recently named the best gallery in Denmark! I'm learning lots and I'll try to take some more pictures to keep you all updated with what's happening.

Done! I also made a pumpkin pie from scratch for Thanksgiving. I haven't made so many pies but I'm still baking lots of cakes, muffins and cookies.

6. Bake bread
Sigh, still not done this one. I'm a bit nervous about it because we don't have a real oven and the ingredients are different here. Maybe I'll try this when I'm home for Christmas.

7. Make jam
Nope. I kind of missed the season for fruit although I guess I could make marmalade? I'm not sure about this one, it might have to wait until summer unless I get ambitious over Christmas to make some to go with the bread.

Done! Ish. We still have little mugs and pots with herbs on our counter. Since we will be living in an attic apartment in January, we will still probably do this since we can't have window baskets.

9. Put up a bird house
I haven't wanted to do this since we are moving and I'm not sure if we will be able to put one up at the new place because of the aforementioned skylight situation. We'll see, I'd still like to!

Uh, kind of. I did learn how to do it, I just still haven't finished my scarf. Although apparently you can take some kinds of needles on the plane so hopefully I'll get some knitting done on my trip home.

11. Learn how to embroider
Not yet. I bought all the supplies and then told myself that I should finish the cable knit scarf before starting on embroidery. This is my classic routine, get excited and learn something and then want to go on to the next thing before finishing the first. I think this will be a good project for the new year though.

12. Build a website/portfolio
In the works! I'm not super techie so it's taking me a while and will likely not look that great but it's coming along.

13. Start Etsy shop
Also in the works! I'm hoping I can start this up in the new year with some vintage and handmade goodies I've been collecting.

Done! I haven't really gone crazy or anything but it's fun to host little parties. We've had dinner parties, a joint birthday party, a Halloween party and an afternoon tea party. Tonight is fondue and board games!

15. Sew a quilt
This is also in the works. I don't have a sewing machine set up here so I'll try to finish the one I started this summer in Canada. Then in hopefully I can set up a little crafting/sewing nook in the new place when I get back.

16. Tie dye/dip dye fabric
Also hasn't happened. Saving this one for the new year list.

No, still haven't had much progress. I've been reading lots of other good books though!

Done! I'm still hoping to make more of these. I'll let you know how the others turned out too.

18. Buy more flowers
I'm a bit torn about this one. I love having fresh flowers around but I can't really justify the price and environmental cost here. I think when I come back in January, I'll get some cat-friendly house plants as a compromise.

19. Write letters
Nope. Again, I'd still really like to but with email, texting and Skype I'm not sure if anyone wants to hear more from me. Maybe I'll try again on the next list.

20. Make camera strap and start using film again!
Yeah, no. I was thinking of bringing my film camera with me to back home but I think I'll just wait and start this project in January. I've been getting a lot better with using my digital in the manual mode though.

I have a few more things I'd like to add to a winter list in addition to the ones I didn't finish here so expect one in January! I'm not sure if I'll post much while I'm back home so if I don't, then have a very happy holiday! Thanks for reading and for all the sweet comments.

This weekend...

Monday, December 6, 2010

...it snowed, and snowed, and snowed. It looked so cozy from inside and when we went for a walk on Sunday, Christianshavn was all winter wonderland-ified. On Saturday we did the first big move into our place and even though there's a lot left to do it's nice to have some of it done. Then Sunday we lazed around all day and ate: carmelized apple pancakes, naps, reading, a snowy walk, root veggie lasagna and The Shop Around the Corner with homemade hot cocoa. I made Mark this little advent calendar of activities to do every Sunday and this one was to watch a Christmas movie and make hot cocoa. Any other good holiday movie recommendations? We wanted to watch something new this year although I still watched Rudolph on my own. There are so many Christmasy things I still want to do but I'm leaving for Canada in a week and so I'll be running around this week wrapping things up here. I can't wait to be back at home though, I'm really looking forward to family, friends and good food!

Oh and the adorable cat cookies were made by Julie, my future sister in law. Tak!

Fall Goal #18 - Make a photo book

Friday, December 3, 2010

You may or may not have noticed that I've fallen off the wagon a bit with my fall goals. Given that it's officially winter here, it's safe to say that I won't finish them all this year. I'm trying not to be that hard on myself about it as I'm busy with school and work but I'm also a bit frustrated with myself for filling up my time so much. I was really looking forward to having a chance to work on my projects but now I have all these things going on like usual so that all the fun stuff gets pushed aside. I'm really going to try to carve out time in my schedule for working on my own stuff in the New Year. And maybe I can finish some of the remaining fall goals then too. But I've been working on my photo project for the last week or so, organizing my photos, backing them up and making photo books. It was a lot of work but making these books is so addictive! I haven't printed out any photos for about 5 years so I'm really excited to see how these turn out. I've made one for each of Mark and I's travels for the past years and I'm starting now on one for each year. I might even get really ambitious when I go home for the holidays to make books for all our old family photos which are jumbled in boxes in the closet right now. I tend to just make vacation albums and then miss out on all the daily photographs, which are just as great. I made these books through my iPhoto which made it super easy. Yay, another one off the list!

Banana bread muffins

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I made these last weekend for Mark to take with him on his clinical stay and they were a hit. Banana bread is so easy to make and a good way to use up those spotty bananas. Most recipes call for ripe bananas but I don't like using totally brown bananas. Instead I use ones that are just a bit riper than I like, which means lot of spots but not completely brown and yucky. I don't have a muffin pan yet so I just used double liners and it worked out fine. Here's the recipe:

Banana Bread:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
2 free range eggs
4 (ish) bananas, mashed
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin or loaf pan.
2. Shift together flour, baking soda, salt and sugars.
3. Beat in eggs, then mashed bananas and melted butter.
4. Pour in pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until done.

How to Cure Winter Blues

Monday, November 29, 2010

This is my (slightly wobbly) advent wreath that I made last week! Since it was first advent yesterday, I figured I could finally post about Christmas decorations but I've actually been getting into the holiday spirit for a couple of weeks now. I know so many people are against it but putting up string lights, lighting some candles and listing to Christmas with the Rat Pack has really helped with the winter blues I was talking about so I've resolved to start celebrating earlier in November from now on. I'll probably do another post about Christmas here once I take some photos downtown (Danes LOVE Christmas!) so this is just a peek. Here is the rest of my list of ways to start loving winter:
  1. Turn on string lights and candles (also in the mornings)
  2. Make porridge for breakfast
  3. Give myself lots of time in the mornings
  4. Take vitamins (especially D and B12)
  5. Make the apartment cozy
  6. Go for afternoon walks to get some sun
  7. Buy a wake up light
  8. Start going to bed earlier
  9. Buy some essential oils and herbal tea
  10. Start celebrating Christmas early (music, movies, decorations, and baking)
  11. Knit something cozy (I’m still working on my cable knit scarf….)
  12. Make oven s'mores (I've been wanting to try making marshmallows!)
  13. Bake bread (Also still on my fall goals list!)

This weekend...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

...went so quickly! The week also flew by, I had decided to keep myself busy since Mark was away on his clinical stay but I ended up packing way too much in. I had dinner parties, a Christmas crafting day, yoga dates, volunteering at the cafe and an opening at the gallery to keep me busy. It snowed all week and all the decorations are up around town which makes everything feel all Christmas-y and cozy. We bundled up and took a walk in the snow yesterday and woke up to huge icicles on our windows this morning. Most of the snow melted today but I hope it snows more again this week. I spent the morning baking raisin scones and rosemary shortbread because we had Mark's family over for afternoon tea today. Besides the excuse to eat food that mainly consists of butter and cream, we asked everyone over because we had some news to share. We're engaged! Most people who know us know that it had been a long time coming but we're still pretty excited. Mark took this last photo the morning after we got engaged, while we were still drinking tea in our pyjamas.

Sorry if the formatting looks strange, Blogger is being silly...

This weekend...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

...we were out in the country. We went to visit Nanna's family and to check out her dad's estate sale/flea market to pick up some things for the new place. It took up two of these barns and was amazing! We got a ton of great stuff which I'll show you all later. It was a really relaxed weekend, which I really needed after last week. So far, this week seems much more promising! I'm starting to feel like winter is more cozy than depressing, especially after making some Christmas crafts this afternoon. And I feel better about our November snow after hearing that there is a blizzard at home, even when I just bragged to my classmates about how it never snows there. Hope you're staying warm and cozy!

Last of Fall

Friday, November 19, 2010

I have nothing new for you today, friends. These pictures were taken in our courtyard just a couple of weeks ago when all the leaves were still around. It's officially winter here now, this morning it was snowing! I'll miss all the pretty leaves but I'm trying to get into winter. I've been coming up with some ideas on how to make winter better (thanks for your tips from the last post!) and I think I've found some good ones. Expect a post on it soon! Hopefully next week will be better although Mark is away on a clinical stay so I'll be home alone. We did go out for a really yummy vegan dinner at Morgensted in Christiania last night because we were too tired to cook. Oh, and we signed up for a food co-op where we work a shift a month and get organic produce in return. Then I spent the evening in bed knitting and reading. Exciting times, exciting times.

New Nest

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mark and I found an apartment! We have this place on sublet until January so we've been busy trying to find something else for 2011. It's really hard to find something affordable in Copenhagen so we're really happy to have found this one. It's only about 5 minutes away from our current apartment so it's somewhat in the same neighbourhood, close to town, and allows cats (yay!). It's an attic apartment which is a bit funny since I lived in an attic apartment in Canada for four years. It's a bit small/cozy but at least it will be nice and bright with all the skylights. I'm already getting all excited about decorating! I love nesting. The best thing is this little window in the bedroom - perfect for Tiggy to birdwatch! Other than finding a place to live, this week has been a bit tough. Mark's been working long shifts at the hospital, we both have colds and I've been feeling a bit of winter blues starting. It's just so dark here! I'm thinking of getting one of these wake up lights. Anyone else have any suggestions for helping winter blues?

{Sorry about the quality of the photo, it's taken with Mark's phone}.

This weekend...

Monday, November 15, 2010

...we had our first visitor! It was so nice to do some of the touristy things I don't normally get to do. Ali was just here for the day so I tried to pack everything in, starting with Danish pastries in the morning, a walk around the harbour, lunch at The a la Menthe and a canal tour before she was off to further adventures in the north of Denmark. I hadn't seen Ali since high school so it was really great to catch up and I can't wait to visit her now that she's living in Budapest. It was a pretty mellow weekend besides that and I didn't take many pictures. Mark and I went to another amazing documentary film that was part of the CPH:DOX festival, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga. It made me want a husky pup so badly. Other than that, we drank lots of tea, ate pumpkin pie and truffle pizza and took naps. I kind of just want to hibernate now that winter is setting in.

Fall Goal #2 - Learn Danish

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crossing this goal of the list is also cheating a bit. I definitely haven't mastered the Danish language but I am learning! My lessons are going great so far, I really like my teachers and my classmates. I had almost forgotten that learning another language is actually fun. And I love going to "school", having homework and some structure in my life. I feel a bit like a little kid with my backpack full of illustrated textbooks and my lunchpack. Since it's an intensive course, I can tell that my Danish is improving already though which is really great as it's nice to speak the language of the country you are living in. Or at least get by.

Applesauce Spice Cake

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I made this cake for Halloween this year but it has a longer history than that. This recipe is a slightly adapted combination of one of Amber's family recipes and this Gourmet one. Amber's mom would make this cake for my birthday and I would usually hoard it away so I could eat it all myself. That sounds horrible but it was just because it's really tasty! It has the perfect blend of spices and makes your whole home smell all cozy and delicious. I know I've said this before but I can't believe the difference grinding whole spices makes to baking/cooking and I'd really recommend it with this recipe. I might make this again today as it's starting to feel wintery already here, all dark and cold. Apparently it's even supposed to snow this week! EDIT: After making this a second time around, I should say that Anne still makes it best.

Applesauce Spice Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon bark
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
1/2 tsp ground whole cardamom
1/4 tsp ground sea salt
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup muscovado or brown sugar
1/2 cup organic unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 organic/free range egg
1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter pan (you can use pretty much any kind).
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a bowl.
3. Beat together sugars, butter, egg and vanilla until fluffy.
4. Add dry ingredients until combined then add applesauce.
5. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake for 30 - 35 mins.
6. Share with your family and friends (or eat it all by yourself).

This weekend...

Monday, November 8, 2010

...Mark and I went winter bathing! It was part of CPH:DOX (the documentary film festival here) where a film about Finnish sauna culture was shown at the Winter Bathing Society and then everyone had a chance to jump in the ocean and then go in a sauna. I didn't think I was going to be able to do it but I did and am so proud of myself! Even though it was really cold it wasn't actually that bad in the end. Afterwards we went to this new burger place, Cock's & Cows, and I ate my face off because I felt like I deserved it. On Sunday we went to Mark's mom's place for an insanely yummy brunch (savoury French toast, blackberry pancakes with apple butter, goat cheese and caramelized onion pastry and homemade muffins and buns) and then went for a long walk with the fam out in the forest near where we went to high school. The late autumn light was so pretty and made everything look all golden-y.

Fall Goal #17 - Read the Russian classics

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This week has just flown by, it's been so busy. So this post seems quite productive but it's not actually. This is the second year I've tried to start reading the Russian classics. I started with Anna Karenina last fall and got about 100 pages in before giving up. This year I began reading The Brothers Karamazov in September and am only at about 200 pages now. I've also flipped through Crime and Punishment and tried to read bits and pieces. But here's the thing - I don't think I like them. I keep trying, hoping that I'll start to get into them because I've heard SO much praise about them. It's not because I don't like older books, I've read plenty of classics and enjoyed them. So I've decided to accept that I likely won't read all of them this fall and leave it at that. Maybe I'll read them one day. I've got a stack of other books waiting to be read so I'm not all that upset about it.

Around Our Neighbourhood

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just wanted to say a quick hello and share this (rather old) picture of the European Environmental Agency here in Copenhagen. They've created a living map of Europe to "provide an example of the ways in which cities can be redesigned to enhance green spaces and biodiversity". I think it looks pretty. Things have been going really well so far with my Danish lessons and working at the gallery and cafe but it's a bit of a change getting used to being so busy (and getting up early!). But it's a good change. Today Mark and I both had the day off so we are getting the place all clean and shiny and then I am off to a meditation workshop tonight with my yoga buddy. There's more on the wall here if you're interested.

Also, a lot of interesting political stuff going on today! Like this and this.

This weekend...

Monday, November 1, 2010

...was Hallowe'en! It was such a good weekend, I'm pretty sure Halloween is my favourite. Friday we prepared for the party at Natalie and Juliet's by carving pumpkins by lantern with hot apple cider and spending the night cutting out bats, draping spider webs all over the house and watching Hitchcock films. It was a great party, complete with a creepy basement where we served creepy drinks and lots of Danes showed up in costume which doesn't always happen. Mark and I were Dia de los Muertos skeletons which seemed like a super popular costume at home {I had no idea!} but no one knew what we were supposed to be here. Oh well, we still looked kind of scary anyway? And since today is actually Hallowe'en, I had to celebrate by baking an apple spice cake and watching more Hitchcock. This week I start my Danish lessons and I also am starting at IMO Projects, as a volunteer intern. I'm really excited and a tad nervous. I'll let you all know how things go. Hope everyone had a good Hallowe'en!

Cowboy Cookies

Friday, October 29, 2010

My mom and I have been making variants on this cookie for as long as I can remember and we've finally perfected the recipe, or at least we think so. We thought we had invented this special recipe but then I found a similar Martha recipe which called them Cowboy Cookies. At least we have a name for them now. I hadn't made them here yet but Mark had been requesting some cookies and I had a housewife day so I decided to make them. I also thought it would be the perfect first recipe to post since it's definitely tried and true. The most important trick to these cookies is using as much organic/high quality ingredients as possible. Everyone seems to love these cookies - they are pretty substantial, not too sweet and even somewhat healthy. Enjoy!

Keppler Cowboy Cookies:

2 cups organic pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground sea salt
1 cup organic unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
3/4 cup packed muscovado sugar
2 large organic free range eggs
2 teaspoons pure bourbon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
6 ounces organic dark chocolate (cut into 1/4 inch chunks)
3/4 cups toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast walnuts in a hot cast iron pan.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl cream butter with both sugars, beat in eggs and then vanilla.
4. Gradually add flour mixture. Add oats, chocolate, walnuts and coconut.
5. Roll a tablespoon of dough into a ball and slightly flatten on baking sheet. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes depending on oven. Take out just before they begin to brown so they stay chewy.

Christianshavn Apothek

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Things are slowly getting back to normal here. Mark and I are both a little bit under the weather after all the excitement of the last few weeks. Mark's dad is off further adventuring in Europe, Mark's back to school and I start my Danish lessons next week (hopefully!). Today is one of my first housewife days in quite a while and I've actually really missed them. So today will be full of laundry, cleaning, baking cookies, knitting and running errands in the rain - all of which badly need to be done. I thought I would post a photo of our neighbourhood pharmacy because I love that it has a unicorn sculpture on it. I also love that I often go to speciality shops here in Copenhagen, many of which have been around for ages. I know it's not that way everywhere in Denmark and maybe it's because I seek them out or we live downtown or I don't know where to go otherwise but I like it. I've also been thinking that maybe I should start posting some of my cooking/baking recipes? I'm not sure if anyone would be interested but it might be fun to share.

This weekend...

Monday, October 25, 2010

... Julie and I had a birthday party. It was a bit of work but I think it was a success. We made ants on a log, deviled eggs, chips/veggies and dip, cupcakes with sprinkles and a sparkling gin punch (essentially a Shirley Temple with gin) which were all really exotic for Danes. There were also tons of balloons, games of Twister, and little Danish flags everywhere which you have to have for a birthday here. We spent all yesterday cleaning up which means people had a good time, right? And I think I can cross #14 off my fall list now.

C'est l'Halloween

Friday, October 22, 2010

Meet Bodie, our new skeleton garland who is named after a ghost town in California that we visited on our road trip last summer. I kind of want to keep him up all year. I've decided on making Mexican skeleton costumes for us this year, similar to this. I'll be carving pumpkins and making other crafty things next week for my friend's Halloween party next week which is exciting. Halloween is such a bigger deal in Denmark than it was a few years ago! The canals beside our apartment look so pretty this time of year too, with all the leaves turning colour. There will be more party planning, crafting and decorating for this weekend as I'm having a birthday party with my friend Julie. We're taking our inspiration from a kids birthday party in Mad Men, I can't wait. Today we are going to a balloon store to get some supplies. A balloon store!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday. I feel old! It ended up being a pretty perfect birthday. Mark surprised me with flowers in the morning and made amazing apple sour cream pancakes for breakfast. It was a sunny day out so we rode our bikes to the Copenhagen Zoo. I'd never been before! I loved seeing all the animals and the zoo was so nicely designed. All the animals seemed a lot more active than in most zoos I've been to (that polar bear was going crazy playing with his toy box!) so I think they are pretty happy there. Later we went to a nice Japanese restaurant just around the corner from our apartment and ate an insane amount of sushi and other treats. Then I just spent the night at home, talking with family and drinking tea with Mark. It was a good day. Thanks to all the friends who sent me sweet wishes, it definitely made the day feel special!

P.S. Look at the vintage posters the zoo sells here. So cute!

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