Monthly Archives: December 2011

Holiday Appreciation

As the holidays slowly creep closer and closer, I’ve been thinking about all the positive things in my life. Things aren’t perfect, but I have Hubby, my beautiful pets, our nice little rental house along with newfound hope and ambition for the future. And after some more initiative in the kitchen, I now have peanut butter marshmallow squares. Yum!:
Next will be the snowbars!  Food always makes me feel grateful! 😉
During the past few weeks, I’ve had some great times with friends, my mother and I went to the Lansdowne Craft Sale for about the twentieth year in a row, and Hubby and I will be eating breakfast this week at our old breakfast hangout-Eggspectation. Just a nice romantic holiday outing for the two of us early in the morning. (It will be a nice change from the powdered instant coffee and oatmeal that I usually eat at my desk!)
This Christmas weekend I get to see my parents and my brother and his girlfriend, as well as show some love and attention to my grandmother who will tell me-rightly so-that I don’t call or visit nearly enough. (Sorry Grandma! I promise to try harder in the new year) We will spend some time with my in-laws, who I will try to think, critique because they care and are pretty great as far as in-laws go. (It could be worse!)
Thinking of the holidays also makes me realize how lucky I am to have such a “normal” (ie. Not completely disfunctional) immediate family. My parents worked hard to give my brother and me everything we wanted and made sure we felt loved. Growing up, every Christmas, birthday and then new year was special and they still are, which makes me feel very blessed.
As cornball and “Christmas special” as this sounds, being around such great people and having warm food and shelter are some of the best gifts that anyone could ever receive and I just want to say thank you to all the special people in my life.
This will probably be my last post for awhile, so I would like to wish you all the best in the holiday season and remember to give a hug to your loved ones-friends and/or family- not just for the gifts, but for being there.

An Entertaining Last Drawing Class

Here is another pre-holiday post on some recent events: My last drawing class was last Thursday. We were having a potluck, but I wasn’t sure exactly how much food people were bringing, so out of fear of being hungry, I chowed down on a bison burger at Aude Dubliner across the street before class. Have you ever had bison? It’s actually pretty tasty. (Oh and I guess now is the time to confess that I’m no longer a vegetarian. Though I try to go veggie at least once a week, which is better than nothing right? )
 
                                         I am not a vegetable!
Anywho, I eat my burger, pay the bill, go to class and people start arriving with lots and lots of grub! One person brought a roast chicken and another a pizza! I was kicking myself for spending money on hairy cow with all this free gloriousness around, but ah well. After chatting, eating and drinking of wine, all the students and teachers got together and began painting or drawing the model. I set up my watercolours and it went well…right up until the point that I absently put my arm down in the wrong place and got covered with my paints, which was just slightly mortifying. Thankfully, a super cool guy came and helped me clean up. Here is the finished portrait:
My other socially awkward moment (I have a few) came when the model took a break and complained about her left foot hurting. I nodded in sympathy and said:
“You have really nice feet” and she kind of gave me a weird look and said “Thanks”
And it was at that point that I felt like a total weirdo, but it’s not like I said it in a creepy, foot-fetish way. I was more intending it as a compliment, because good feet are rare. But posing nude in front of people, I guess your bound to encounter some perverts who are in the class for the wrong reason, so she’s probably learned to be weary.
It was around this time that Hubby called and said he was downstairs. My instructor had invited him to the potluck. He came in, saw the naked chick in the room and went 180 degrees the other way. Two minutes later I got another call “You didn’t tell me that there would be a nude person in the room!”
“Sorry I figured you would have known since this is a figure drawing class” I responded
“Eh, I’ll wait. Call me when you’re done”
After class, he told me he didn’t want her to think he was leering at her, which I guess makes sense, but nudity isn’t a big deal to me and I just wanted him to see my work and meet my instructor. However, after the foot thing, it may have freaked out the model to suddenly see a strange guy looking at her. LOL
Anyways, after she was fully clothed, Hubby did meet my teacher who tried to get us out for drinks, which we politely declined. After working all day and hainging around the school, I imagined Hubby wanted to go home. I hugged her anyways and thanked her for a great class-She is so down to earth and funny and I’ve learned a lot. It was such a positive and supportive learning environment and the potluck really put a nice end to it.

Cookie Recipe and Shopping

Since a few people have asked, I thought I would post the recipe for Hungarian Cheese filled cookies. They are pretty awesome. And if you make them, don’t be like me and throw out surplus cheese filling because that stuff is pure gold and bakes down anyways!

2 cups butter                        3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup white sugar             1 package (3 oz) softened cream cheese

2 tbsp milk                           1 egg yolk

1 1/2 tsp lemon extract        1/2 cup icing sugar

2 tbsp poppy seeds

4 cups flour

Heat oven to 325F. Beat butter, milk and lemon extract with mixer until creamy. Add poppy seeds. Gradually add flour, mix until smooth dough forms. Now for the filing,  in a separate bowl, beat ricotta, cream cheese, egg yolk and remaining 1/2 tsp lemon extract until smooth.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and put on a ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb into center of each cookie to make indentations, spoon some filing into each cookie.

Bake 18-20 minutes until cookies look dry and set (they will not brown). Cool and sprinkle with icing sugar. Yum!

In terms of more holiday cooking, my mom and I have divided up our traditional list of baking treats and I picked Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares for Christmas and maybe Raspberry Snowbars. So I should have a good supply of treats around the house..

Anyways, in other festive news, I’m pretty much done my shopping. This year I went pretty nuts with it. Probably too nuts. After seeing my latest bills, I’m definitely going to have to reign it in. It’s tough though because I love buying presents and if I could I would buy my loved ones the world. What also doesn’t help is the high price of shipping-Cheese and rice, why does it cost so freakin’ much to ship things, especially relatively small items??? It’s a scam, for sure!

Anyways, there are plenty of other ways to show you care about someone than buying them stuff. I’ll probably get back into making some cards soon too.

What about you? How has your shopping been going?

Desserts, Class and Festivus!

For our first Festivus, I made some cookies-Poppy seed cheese and Whoopie Pie. The cheese ones turned out really well and kind of taste like shortbread with a hint of cream cheese in the middle:

The whoopie cookies are from Food and Drink magazine and I made them while Hubby went to his work’s holiday party. I was going to go to that party but have been experiencing weird foot and ankle soreness lately, so the idea of standing around holding a glass of wine all night in heels wasn’t probably the best idea:

Their holiday parties are usually pretty good, but I just needed to relax a bit. On Thursday night, on my way to art class, my ankles were really stiff and combined with a blah day at work and PMS, I was verging on gloominess. As mentioned, we were given free reign in the last two classes-The model struck one pose for three hours and we could depict her in an medium we wanted. I picked watercolour, which I love. During the first hour and a half, I was really far away and getting aggravated at how small she was on my paper. Plus, our teacher had this really annoying Bjork album on repeat, so we got to listen to weird wailing the whole time!

Normally, I love Bjork and have a few of her albums, but the one we heard in class was not good. I like listening to music while I paint, but not if it’s grating or too loud, it’s too distracting!  Luckily, however, I managed to switch places with another student, up close to the model and the teacher eventually changed the music to that Snow Patrol album that was popular awhile ago. Here is the end result of my picture:

I was using some inexpensive portable brushes that come in a little case, rather than my usual pricier ones. They work alright, not great, but they’re cheaper, so I guess you can’t expect too much. There are three teenage girls in the class and one of them was talking to me about her watercolour pencils. She showed them to me later and they have definitely peaked my interest. Something to try perhaps in the future. This image was captured also with my camera, not with my scanner. A new scanner is definitely something I need-because the one we have right now works about half the time and the rest of the time divides up the picture in separate, weird files. Anyways, during the class, my mood was also lifted a bit by the chirpiness of my classmates and people from other classes who were converging on the sink in the hallway to clean up their brushes.  One guy talked about the necessity of having a bucket while painting, while another joked around with me. The people in my class were in similar good spirits and everyone is very excited for the potluck we’ll be having for our last class next week. (I’m bringing fruits and veggies or rather Hubby is bringing them!)

So that’s it for me right now, I have a Festivus party to plan for, speaking of which, what do you guys think of our Festivus Pole? (aka Shower curtain rod wedged into a Christmas tree stand):

Pretty awesome right? 😉 Have a great weekend!