Posts tagged ‘Winter’

2017, March 17

A successful ice skating season

The ice skating season here in my city of Cluj-Napoca has closed on the 28th of February. I realized I never really talked about it while it was ongoing, so given I’m also at a loss for any other blog post idea, well, here we go ;)

I have my own skates, bought them a few years ago when I started going to the rink. They’re 10 Lei to rent, so when I was sure I’d be going more than three times during that winter, I decided to buy my own. A pair of ice skates cost 100 Lei back then (they’re about 75 Lei now, prices have dropped a bit), so it was and still is better/cheaper, and to me more reliable since I have small feet, to buy them.

The season opened on the 18th of November 2016. At first, it was a bit hard to convince myself to go all by myself.
The plan I stuck to was to go every Wednesday evening, because my BF works until 7pm that day every week.
If he also had soccer games, I’d just walk through the parking lot and get on a bus toward home,or if soccer falls through, he could come pick me up from the rink without having to wait a lot until I got out at 7:30pm.
I am proud to say I stuck to that schedule! There were only three or four times I missed due to being on holiday, and when it was -3 F or lower over here.

After asking a friend if she wanted to come with me on a Wednesday and she replied with “I’m going skating tomorrow with colleagues from 4pm”, I was pretty annoyed and forced myself to dress accordingly in the morning, and take my skates with me to work, so I wouldn’t chicken out of going alone.
(The reply above annoyed me because of its phrasing, not because of my invitation being turned down.)

So that first Wednesday, I got off work at 5pm, my fingers felt like they were about to freeze off because I forgot my gloves so I stopped to buy new gloves and then I was on my way to the rink!
The admission was in between 6-7:30pm, but I only arrived around 6:20 due to my little detour.
The rink wasn’t packed, so there was more than enough room to skate and there were many kids, but 80% of them knew how to skate better than I do, so I didn’t have to keep avoiding possible accidents.

I wasn’t even too sore the following day! (Probably helps that since the summer I started walking more again, then running, and going to the gym once it got chilly outside.) I didn’t have to stop too many times. I also didn’t have to keep the same pace as anyone I would’ve gone with, which was cool. By the time the hours were up, I even picked up more speed.

The important thing is that the above mentioned rejection forced me to go alone, and I had an awesome time. I didn’t even think to ask anyone if they wanted to come with me, for the rest of the season.
Definitely a lesson learned: stop waiting for other people when you want to do something you love!

Here’s to many more ice skating outings next season!!!

2017, February 3

Leave nothing but footprints behind

The title of this blog post is inspired by the quote on one of the signs near the Bridal Veil Waterfall, which I wrote about over on Milliver’s Travels this week.

If you’d like to see pictures of a cool frozen waterfall, and brave climbers scaling it, head on over to check out my article “The Bridal Veil Waterfall aka Răchiţele Falls, Romania”.

 

2014, December 20

Simple holiday decor ideas that will survive a kitty attack

xmas kitten proof 3

When I first started thinking about holiday decorating at home and at my boyfriend’s, I was a bit concerned about the latter.

As you may have seen from my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts, we have a really cute, but at-times-beyond-hyper kitty, Pixel. Almost nothing is out of reach unless shut behind a cabinet door, and everything is easily turned into a toy. A toy which usually gets destroyed in five minutes or less if we don’t notice in time. And we usually don’t.

I started searching for ideas of Christmas decorating when one has pets around. The tips I found were good, but not fully applicable for our case. We live in an open plan apartment, which means that Pixel can get into and onto anything and everything.

There are no tips out there for leaving a kitty alone with all the holiday decorations up while the owners are at work and out of the house for 10 plus hours.

This whole thing got me thinking. We’d just have to be creative when it came to holiday decorating this year. And I’m sharing below just how we achieved it.

xmas kitten proof 1

Simple holiday decor ideas that will survive a kitty attack:

Keep it simple. And I do mean Simple with a capital “S”!
Go for an easy yet effective design which will still be festive, but won’t grab your cat’s attention too much.
We’re going for the “Hmm, a new thing’s placed there, let’s see what it is. It doesn’t sparkle. I can’t make it move around much. Doesn’t smell interesting. Okay, I’ll go sleep now.” reaction from your cat.

Go with a small fake tree, and place it out of the cat’s reach.
Also, if you have a real pine center piece, only leave it on tables or nightstands when you’re at home, and place them out of reach before leaving the house.
You wouldn’t want your cat nibbling on real pine while you’re at work all day long (it’s toxic if ingested in larger amounts).

For the Christmas tree avoid using tinsel, glittery and breakable ornaments.
I found that using simple clothespin ornaments, plastic or metal balls, or securing the ornaments to the branches with a ribbon works perfectly. You can also use homemade decorations like salt dough ones, dried fruit and cinnamon sticks, nuts and pine cones – these usually won’t get a second glance (especially dried fruit, kitties dislike citrus-y aromas) and even if they do, they’re not expensive to replace.
Add bells, if your cat is afraid of the sound they make; or use them as a precaution so they’ll alert you if the tree is being tampered with.

Place decoration out of reach.
Decorate mantels, shelves, window sills and other areas your cat doesn’t get to. You can safely display holiday photos and Christmas cards you receive, Christmas stockings, and breakable decorations this way.
Hang wintery and Christmas-themed paintings, wreaths and simple garlands on the walls and doors.
Plants on window sills will get a festive feel from some bows over the pots, Christmas themed planters and plant stakes.
Secure Christmas lights by lining the window frame with them for a both indoor and outdoor decoration. Use the “all lights ON” setting instead of letting them twinkle on their own.

Make some jar ornaments, which you can leave even at your cat’s reach.
You can create very cute decorations with jars, using even your favorite glass ornaments, since your cat won’t be able to touch them after you place the lid on. You can even add tea lights to light inside them and place the lid back on once burnt, or go with battery-powered tea lights. If you have snow spray, go ahead and add a few puffs of it into the jars.
Just make sure they’re not someplace they can get knocked off from too easily.

Decorate with throw pillows and blankets.
Fun, Christmas and winter themed pillows and blankets are all around us in stores especially during winter and right before Christmas, and other than give your home a holiday feel, they’re also quite comfy, warm and snuggly.
You can even make your own sweater pillow cases.
The worst your cat will do with these is get all comfy and have a good long sleep on top of them.
Choose some Christmas themed table cloths for the dining area, dishtowels, oven mitts, aprons and refrigerator magnets for the kitchen, towels and fun-shaped soap for the bathroom.

Have pine cones and fruit on tables and counters using Christmas themed bowls and plates for them. Same goes for the cookies! Don’t leave them out overnight or when you leave for work though, if your cat might knock them to the ground. (We’ve fished apples out from under the kitchen cabinet before.)
Christmas themed dishware in general will give a more festive feel to your meal time. If you feel like it, buy a new bowl for your cat, too, to use during the holidays.

Light scented candles, or use aromatherapy oils. There are tons of candles out there you can buy! Scents like cinnamon, pine, apple, oranges, cloves, peppermint and vanilla are all great! You can even make your own natural room scents.
Also, cats usually won’t go near lit candles.

Place Christmas themed books on shelves and on coffee tables.
You surely have a couple of Christmas novels or anthologies laying around, and also craft or cookbooks. The colorful covers will decorate all on their own when placed on shelves with the front cover showing or all the Christmas themed ones placed together, stacked up on coffee tables, and in baskets.

xmas kitten proof 2

Do you guys have pets? How do you decorate so that they don’t destroy everything? Or have they already grown out of that habit?

Hope you enjoyed my tips! ;-)

2013, December 22

Writer’s & Book Lover’s Christmas Tree – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 2013 is close to an end, and I am reading more (have already completed my reading challenge), especially seasonal books. Not sure why I haven’t had as many on hand in past years, but this year I’m going all out!

At the moment, I am reading “A Cup Of Cozy”, a collection of short Christmas mysteries and holiday recipes, and I’m loving every piece of fiction – not to mention the recipes – in it! It is currently free for Kindle (at the time of writing this, 22.12.2013). The price doesn’t even begin to give it value, so I highly recommend you download a copy ASAP!

Speaking of reading and of books…

I think I saw my very first book Christmas tree three years ago (I know that I have shared one in my X-Mas greeting blog post in 2010). Needless to say, I have wanted one of my own ever since!

Today I took a little while and gave it a try. Now finished, I am absolutely in love with my little book Christmas tree and how personalized it is to me! <3

Let me know if you’ve ever built one, and do share pictures if you have any!

book christmas tree-1

Writer’s & Book Lover’s Christmas Tree

As many books as you can find
A string of lights and any other decorations you desire
Your patience; but it’s worth it!

Start by sorting your books depending on size. I found that it helps a lot to know where to look, when needing to even out surfaces.

Then, start stacking your books by creating a larger base and working your way up to its top.

Not sure what other advice to give you except to just start stacking the books and you’ll see as you go how it shapes up, where you might need to re-stack, and what books to add next – our libraries are vastly different.

When you’re happy with how your book tree looks, decorate with lights, tinsel, garlands and any other decoration you desire.

(I topped mine off with a little snowman I received from a friend, and my “Know where you’re @” bookmark.)

Happy book-tree building! ;)

2013, December 21

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments –part 2- #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1Like I said yesterday, when bringing into your home the huge boxes marked “X-Mas” after a year and awaiting them to again become the center of attention, you might be surprised by your findings.

Some of your ornaments might need a fresh look.

Below are the ornaments I upcycled today. They look beyond cute!
I finished eight yesterday, and had four more ornaments to upcycle this morning.
To my luck, I also found some Lace to “dress” a couple of them and after finishing those, wondered what to do with the last two ornaments.

I wanted something interesting, something fitting for a writer!

Thought I’d give decoupage a try this time and made a few writerly ornaments with some calligraphy on them.
What do you think? Every writer’s dream? ;)

decoupage christmas ornament

Writerly Christmas Tree Ornaments

old Christmas ornaments
decoupage paper, rice paper or napkins
scissors
ribbon
other decoration if needed

As a base, cover the whole surface of the ornament with dull hobby paint (or glue) in a few layers.
Cut the desired pattern as accurately as possible.
Separate the calligraphy patterned napkin, only the top layer will be needed the pattern part, the rest of the napkin can be disposed of.
After the primer dull paint coat has dried, brush a coat of adhesive varnish on the entire surface.

Then gently place the cut napkin pattern and smooth out any wrinkles. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, it gives a more antique look if it’s a bit wrinkly.
Coat the entire surface once more when you are done, so the napkin will be completely covered with adhesive paint.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 20

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 When bringing into your home the huge boxes marked “X-Mas” after a year and awaiting them to again become the center of attention, you might be surprised by your findings.

There might be Christmas ornaments in those boxes which don’t end up on your tree when decorating. They might have outgrown your style, you might not like their color, or you might have gotten bored with them, even though they bring nice memories of Christmases past.

Let’s fix that with only a few easy steps! ;)

I’m sure you have scrap pieces of fabric laying around, maybe lace, old knitted socks or scarves. Working at the curtain shop, I found quite a few fabric scraps I brought home just because. As soon as I saw some of my ornaments, I knew just what I could do to bring them to new life while putting to good use my fabrics.

page fabric ornaments

To my luck, I also found some lace to “dress” a few of these.

lace fabric ornament

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments

old Christmas ornaments
fabric scraps
scissors
ribbon
other decoration if needed

Cut squares of fabric two inches larger than your ornaments.

Wrap gently around the ornaments, pulling the edges towards the top.

Secure with a ribbon and tie bows, add leaves, buttons, dried berries or other decoration if needed.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 18

Twinkle star decoration for your window – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…

As you may have noticed, I love love love Christmas decoration. I try and incorporate them anywhere there’s enough room to, and so, my window sills and windows are no exception.

After frantically searching the whole house and every single X-Mas box we could lay hands on for a similar window decoration we used to have, my mom remembered we gave it to my grandparents last year. That figures, I was sure I saw it not too long ago – and I have, just not in our house!

I still wanted to decorate the kitchen window with something, so decided to simply make another one. Christmas lights were bought, window finally got washed as well as the curtains, and so today, I sat down to make a new Twinkle Star decoration.

Here’s how you can make one, too:

page twinkle star 1

page twinkle star 2

Twinkle star decoration for your window

One set of shorter (100 light) LED Christmas lights – color of your choice
wooden sticks
nails and a hammer
ribbon
string

Nail together wooden sticks into a star shape. You can use any type of sticks – I used some discarded ones I found in grandpa’s garage, but I’m positive this would look awesome with actual branches, too!

Plug the lights into an outlet and starting from there, measure lights next to where you want the finished twinkle star to be hung. Mark with a paperclip.

Then, start wrapping the lights all over the star shape starting from one tip, from the mark on the lights towards the other end. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have enough room to plug the star into the outlet without any issues, nor needing to unwrap so it’ll reach.

Decorate and fasten lights onto the wooden star shape with a few ribbons and tie bows. To the upper tip of your star, add a string as long as you need it to hang the decoration in the window.

Hang in your window and plug it in. Everyone will admire it when walking by your house!

* I personally wasn’t going to puncture my window frames with a nail, so I tied a larger knot to the end of the string, cracked the window open, pushed the knot outside and then just closed the window. This, of course, only works if you won’t open that side of the window until the star is decorating it.

Happy crafting! ;)

%d bloggers like this: