Hi, my name is Hilary, and I’m a colour addict (an end-of-summer arts and crafts project)

Subtitle: I will blog about whatever I like, please and thank you.

As far as decorating my bedroom goes, I’m pretty big on colour. Want to know how big? Here’s a picture of my room at my parent’s house, painted circa grade 10.

This was also the time when I took embarrassing, myspace shots like this in said bedroom. You know you did it too. See that green blazer? That’s my high school band jacket. See the purple scarf? I wore that yesterday. Coolest kid in school, clearly.

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME EVER.

The one perk to moving halfway through high school? I got to paint my room two different colours. My brother picked black and red. Logically, I did what any colour-crazed teenage girl who had been living in a baby blue bedroom for the last seven years would do, and selected pink and yellow to go along with my already-lime green laden future room. Bless the girl who lived there first for picking such an atrociously bright colour.

So back to my first statement: I like my room full of colour and creativity. With such, you can only imagine my excitement when I discovered this frame at a design boutique in Vienna. I knew that the second I got home I would recreate it.

My inspiration

And it was so easy. This was all I needed.

This craft project was also simplified by the fact that I had in my possession a decently sized saw. It was in the toolbox my dad bought for me in second-year. This being said, shouldn’t every 20-something girl own at least one saw? Craft projects must be taken into consideration.

Now, since pencil crayons and their resulting shavings come out looking quite artistic, ensure that you take several pictures of both during and after the crafting process.

Then base the front of your future business cards around one of the photos you take. This is very important.

Before you know it, voila! You will have a ridiculously childish, Viennese inspired frame to help brighten up the already ceizure-inducing colour of your room. Admire for hours.

In total, this frame took about 2 hours to make, almost all of which was spent lounging out on the porch in the end-of-summer sun. I’ll post the extremely-simple instructions down below, in case you every have a desire to make a frame which will most definitely make you look like a Kindergarten teacher or teen mom. Ugh. Who am I.

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Whole-wheat strawberry and peach muffins (and my decision to finally cook for myself, and not for the blog)

That’s right – they’re packed with health.

For those of you who don’t know (which is likely everyone with the exception of my mom and my plentiful list of stalkers), I’ve recently changed student accommodations, moving from a house with one small, shabby kitchen into a house with a fairly decent sized there-is-actually-a-good-counter-per-person-ratio kitchen. Moving has also meant that I’m no longer living with five other girls (all of whom I still love, but living with that many people taunts the very best of co-operators). Rather, I’m now living with two – Brittany and Freya – the most athletically fit and enthusiastically energetic people I know. They’re a wonderful influence on me.

Brittany and Freya at this wicked new gelato place near our house

Their influence prompted the creation of these muffins. Since Britt and the Freymeister are both varsity athletes, it means that their meals are always jam packed with fruits, vegetables, healthy flours and honeys and oils that I only half like. Example: earlier in the day when I made these, Britt made red currant banana muffins with spelt flour (after trying them for scientific purposes, I can certify them as 100% delicious). I’m not sure what exactly spelt flour is or what its benefits are, but if B is using it than it must be good for you.

Point is, she inspired me to go above and beyond my basic all-purpose flour muffins and make them with whole-wheat flour. Yes, I know the use of whole-wheat flour does not automatically nominate me for the “healthy blogger of the year” award. I think Britt already has that one snagged. Rather, it’s just a tiny part of my September resolution to eat healthier at every meal.

Here’s the truth:

Although technically learning how to cook last year, I was terrible in the sense that I would only cook really healthy and good food for myself when I planned to blog about it. This being said, I was basically cooking for my blog, and not for me (my old roommates can vouch for the fact that I frequently had “blog desserts” that I would set aside and they would not be able to touch).

This year, things will be different. At each and every meal, I’m going to make the conscious effort to eat fruit and vegetables with or in said meal. And I’ll try not to snack, although snacking is my oldest and most dear friend. Hopefully from here on in we will just be friendly acquaintances.  I’ve already started out on this resolution, with stir frys, smoothies and fruit-buying galore. Lets see if I can keep it up once the real buzz of school begins.

In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy these muffins and revel in the fact that a whole-wheat something is better than a non-whole-wheat one. Heck, I’m no expert yet.

September muffins

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Spaghetti Carbonara: The first of many Europe trip-inspired meals

Subtitle: A tragic tale of love and loss featuring borrowed Dutch bicycles

Food-wise, Europe was every bit as inspiring as I hoped it would be. In our four weeks of backpacking, Gord and I travelled across seven countries and have done our best to try the local cuisine of each. Basically we ate lots of pizza, pasta, cheese, eggplant, bread, macarons, bacon-wrapped hotdogs, pancakes AND MORE. Whew.

Over the next few weeks, Gord and I will be recreating our favourite dishes from our trip. We plan on having country-themed dinner parties in which we feed guests food from that one specific nation. Think massive, five-course meals.

To get a headstart on our food recreations, Gord and I made an Italian cuisine-inspired meal: spaghetti carbonara. In Amsterdam we had access to a kitchen at the airbnb apartment we were staying at, and we took full advantage of the fact that we could finally cook a full dinner.

Also, spaghetti carbonara happens to be just about the cheapest and easiest dish you can make. It requires about five basic ingredients. One of them is bacon. Have I convinced you to make this yet?

Of course, like any good plotline, no meal is complete unless presented with a dilemma. Ours came in the form of groceries lost whilst riding a bicycle. Seriously. Such a Dutch problem.

Here’s the story:

Having gone grocery shopping for dinner supplies in downtown Amsterdam, Gord and I smartly decided to use the elastic laces on the back of my borrowed bike to strap down our precious cargo. Off we go, biking away, me trying very hard not to get T-boned (almost happened twice) by the no-patience-for-tourists Dutch cyclists.

Sometime between the grocery store and a third of the way back, our bag of groceries decided to dislodge itself from its unstable home. Moments of hilarious realization occured and we backtracked our route in hope of recovering our estranged cargo. No such luck.

The story ended on a happy note, though, and we found a grocery store on the way home, repurchased our ingredients and peddled back, this time with the bag dangling from Gord’s handlebars.

Moral of the story? When trying to blend in with fashionable Dutch cyclists, ensure things are securely tied to your bicycle, or risk looking ridiculous as items unknowingly tumble from said vehicle. Lesson learned.

In the end, the resulting dinner was worth every once of the trouble. Our first home-cooked meal in a month. Delicious.

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