Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Heidi's picks for top ten blogs of 2008

I've learned so much from the blogosphere this year. I'm always on the look out for new recipes, great photography and crafty ideas. I've come across some great blogs this year, each an inspiration for my own blog. So here's a big 2008 thank you to those great blogs.

Let the countdown begin.

10. Indie Fixx

This blog contains great tips for music, arts, crafts and interior design. It's updated by guest bloggers frequently. It links out to other craft blogs, so it's always full of new ideas.

9. made by michelle brusegaard

This Minneapolis artist recently quit her job to devote herself to her growing design business. Her blog is entertaining, even if it's not updated very frequently. Hey, she's a busy girl. Her Etsy site is fabulous. Michelle's custom-made stationary is a great gift for those people on your list who seem to have everything. Her work has been featured on my No. 1 pick (see below) several times, and according to her latest post, will be moving to Fargo this summer!

These handmade cards will only set you back 5 bucks.

8. David Lebovitz

I will never achieve this level of culinary skill, but it's fun to read each week. Not only does he make ridiculously awesome food, but he's a great writer. I've never actually tried to make any of his dishes, but I read the blog religiously and usually chuckle aloud at an entry or two. His food photos are eye candy:

Maybe I'll actually try this recipe for candied ginger.

7. bugheart

She's got great style and great art. If only a could knit like this girlie. I also enjoy her photography side project, trinoculars, with her brothers. They are three very talented siblings.

6. angry chicken
This hip mom cooks, sews, crafts and shops. Her recipes never steer you wrong; they're easy to follow and taste amazing. I wish I had more time to try all of the stuff she manages to get done. I'd really like to try this sweater conversion craft. Pure genius.

This cute cardigan started out a v-neck pullover sweater.

5. wikstenmade
I asked for (and received) a sewing machine for Christmas this year because of this blog. Her fashions are out of my price range, but someday I'll own one of her awesome shifts. I'm sure I'll mess up a creation or two while trying to whip up a few of my own.

This scarf is on my Christmas list for next year.

4. Design*Sponge

I found many a gift ideas on this blog chock full of knitting, crafting and design ideas. They even throw in a few recipes for good measure. It's updated at least once a day, giving me something to look between Facebook and

3. Smitten Kitchen

This is the first site I visit if I'm in search of a new recipe. I made "speckled for the freckled" banana bread the other day. Anyone who adds bourbon to a breakfast food deserves a place on my best blog list. I'm also a sucker for creative food photography.

2. Britta Trygstad

This Fargo gal is one heck of a photographer. A former photo editor of The Advocate (shameless shout out), she developed—pun intended—into a photojournalist with a very artistic edge. Her wedding photos for Milestones Photography would make even the most cold-footed bride ready to walk down the aisle.

1. poppytalk

The mother of all hand-made blogs. It's updated (seemingly) hourly. It links out to great Etsy sites I wouldn't have otherwise found and features fantastic new artists. They have news about local art fairs and everything else handmade. This week they have some great ideas for a rockin' New Years Eve party, including decorating, entertaining and recipe ideas for the big night.

This is a drink recipe I'll definitely need to try.

I encourage you to frequent each of them and share your favorites. Who knows, maybe you'll make it on my 2009 list! You know, because this blog is the ultimate authority on everything cool *sarcasm*.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So what if Christmas is over

We decorated our apartment for Christmas a few weeks ago. With the scurry of the season, I didn't get a chance to post the photos before Christmas, but still think it's worth the effort.

Our wondrous white tree.

Yes, that is a pickle ornament.

Cristen and I have collected vintage ornaments over the last couple of years.
I think we finally have a pretty good assortment.

We have a pretty dim living room, so we tried to come up with ways to make it brighter.
A string of lights made this punch bowl we had laying around sparkle.

Gawdy, vintage fabrics are our favorites.
My aunt Emily made this wreath before I was born.
It might be an oldie, but it's a definite goodie.

Cheers to a new year

Tomorrow is the drinkiest of holidays, and what better to indulge than with a holiday flavored treat like Apple Pie Schnapps.

My roommate, Cristen, makes it every year to give away as gifts.

This is a great gift idea for co-workers. Just make sure not to imbibe at work ;)

The beverage shows up at numerous events throughout the year, as each of our friends attempts to finish his/her bottle of potent deliciousness. I think our bottle only lasted through the cold months of March last year, but Cristen was still toting a bottle as late as Tara's wedding in October. That night, it went over great, not so much the next day.

This batch should fill about eight 750 mL bottles


3 gallons apple cider
1 cup sugar (She actually recommends less, but this was what the original recipe called for. You could easily halve this)
1 fifth Everclear (Trashy, we know)
12 sticks cinnamon

The amount of Everclear and cinnamon depends on taste. I think adding a few peeled pieces of fresh ginger would taste fantastic.

Directions: Combine apple cider, sugar, Everclear and cinnamon sticks in a very large stockpot over low heat for about three hours. Don't let it boil! You wouldn't want to lose any of that 77 proof alcohol content or anything. Remove cinnamon sticks and strain to remove large chunks left from cinnamon. Divide into bottles and add festive tags to give as gifts.

Cristen found some nice clear bottles with a resealable cap at IKEA last year, but was also able to get some pretty blue-hued jars at a local brewery.

Christmas break...ahhhh. How relaxing.

I haven't done a whole heck of a lot since I got back from my mom's for Christmas. I've spent a total of 4 hours, 35 minutes on my Wii Fit, read five or six magazines, watched plenty of TV and made a couple of loaves of banana bread. Going back to school is going to be a nice change. I'm beginning to get a bit restless.

One nice this about all of this time is that I've finally gotten caught up on some reading and listened to music. With all the time I put into the paper, I usually try to ration my spare hours on homework and going to the gym, leaving my record collection neglected.

Oh how I've missed you Devil Dogs...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The weather outside is DELIGHTFUL

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I promise —or maybe I should resolve— to post much more frequently.

We're gearing up for our third or fourth or fifth or tenth winter storm advisory for the month of December in Fargo. I'm not going to lie, I love it. I think people that choose to live in climates such as this need to learn to simply embrace it and enjoy winter's fury—err beauty.

I just got back from a whole week of family Christmas fun. I was fortunate enough to get to watch my two nieces for a few days when my sister and her husband worked. Having kids is seriously too much work. I love them, but it's nice to know I get to send them home.

Between numerous Barbie wardrobe changes and "more more" horsie rides around the living room, the temperature finally climbed above zero, so we could play outside.

My niece Elena, 4, enjoyed climbing atop the snow mountain in my mom's driveway.

Maia, 2, was a little less enthusiastic about the snow mountain.

She would have rather ridden her bike a little out of season.

We enjoyed a couple of cups of hot chocolate when we got inside.

Maia enjoyed hers with a few ice cubes in her Elmo cup with a side of princess gummies.

My mom makes her own cocoa mix. It's very similar to this recipe from Alton Browne. The girls thought it was pretty good.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's a Silly Putty week

For those of you who ever visit me in the office, you might have noticed my dingy wad of silly putty that I constantly mold and squish in my hand while "pretending" to get stuff done each Tuesday.

Because it's that stressful time of year, here's an ode to my Silly Putty:

I guess I know what I'm making myself for Christmas.