Wednesday, December 21, 2011

botanical holiday cards

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I finally got around to sending out my Christmas cards last week. It was quite an undertaking to illustrate all of these by hand, but luckily I didn't have too many to make. December has flown by; I've been busy making Christmas presents and seasonal edibles, as well as these cards and working overtime. My partner and I are also searching for a new apartment, (and frantically trying to clean ours) but it looks like that will be delayed another month. 'Tis the season! What have you been up to?

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

lighting the advent wreath

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I finally finished my advent wreath today, a little late, but who's going to tell? For those who are unfamiliar, an advent wreath marks the weeks leading up to Christmas. It's a Christian tradition, meaning different things to different denominations, but for me, growing up in the United Church of Canada it was four very clear messages that I think everyone could empathize with: hope, peace, joy, and love. Each candle (traditionally three purple and one pink) was lit, one each week, until finally on Christmas Eve all four would be lit as well as a white candle that would sit in the middle representing Christ. 

Parts of this tradition still speak to me and I wanted to update it in a way that fits with my current lifestyle. I made a wreath to sit on my coffee table out of curly willow and seeded eucalyptus and adorned it with four locally made beeswax candles. I think most of us can agree that Christmas has lost a certain something in recent years and sitting down to light a candle and reflect on important values was something I could get behind.

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Using super fresh and bendy curly willow I created a frame with wire ties.

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I then threaded small stems of seeded eucalyptus throughout until it looked balanced.

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The candles are standing glamourously on little tin foil stands. Oh and lets be smart and not let the candles burn down too much, okay?

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the beginnings of an advent wreath

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I started a little wreath making today. I have seen so many gorgeous and cute do-it-yourself advent calendars this year but god knows I'm not going to come up with 25 clever little trinkets for my loved one, so I thought I would take a different path. Growing up in the United church of Canada we always had an advent wreath as part of our Christmas decorations. To be honest we very rarely lit the candles at home, but it was part of the very sacred tradition of Christmas decor which could simply not be messed with.

I thought I would update the style a bit and got started today by shaping some seeded eucalyptus. I'll show you the finished product just as soon as my florist gets in some curly willow!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

super moist chocolate & pear cake

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Inspired by the beauty of this seasonal fruit and the irresistible looking recipe over on Honey & Jam, I made a pear and chocolate cake last week. This was a deliciously moist chocolate cake, and I used part olive oil in mine, so it had a nice crisp crust. (p.s. turned out fine using whole wheat pastry flour too!) All the pear chunks sunk to the bottom unfortunately, but it doesn't really matter when you take a bite, does it?

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

a rainy day at home

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It snowed in Vancouver tonight if you can believe it. I stared out the window with my cat Mingus in awe for several minutes. It didn't last long, the flakes had barely begun to form a thin layer on the roof tops before the magic ended. As the silence wore off and the gentle crystals started descending much quicker I promptly turned from the window and planted my behind firmly in the bathtub.  

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Monday, November 14, 2011

colourful autumn pears

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I made something very tasty with some of these last week, I'll share the end result soon. (Aren't they gorgeous?)

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red bartlett

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green anjou

Friday, November 04, 2011

east village bakery & orchid update

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Good morning! I am having such a nice relaxing Friday (my day off) so far this morning. It's a beautiful sunny and crisp autumn day in Vancouver and I'm just enjoying a little cup of chai and some toast with tomato slices.

A few days ago I went to go check out a new-ish bakery to my neighbourhood, East Village Bakery. A small little shop baking throughout the day, serving the local Hastings residents, East Village offers your choice of hearty, whole grain breads, and decadent tarts and pastries. Have I mentioned that I love living in a neighbourhood and city that cares so deeply about good food?!

(Okay so I still think the Tartine loaf looks a little tastier, but I liked the similarity between the two loaves.)
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Remember this orchid? It is blooming along very happily. As much as I love plain old foliage, flowering plants really do bring such unexpected brightness to the home. I hope you have a great Friday!

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

a lifetime gift: a shun knife

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I wasn't really expecting anything when Joseph and I had an anniversary this past week, but he surprised me with a gift for us: a Shun knife. This knife is the knife of my dreams (what you don't dream about knives?). I love the wood detail of the handle and the Japanese craftsmanship. This knife will likely last us the rest of our lives.
I can't wait to cook with it — although it's just so darn pretty, I hate to use it.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

ubc botanical garden

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Taking in some autumn colours at UBC Botanical Garden this past Saturday.

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