Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting Dumped

OK. We had a nice time. We had some laughs. We all enjoyed your blinky lights & the hijinks, but now, Christmas Tree, I think it's time to go.

No offense, but have you noticed how you take up almost a quarter of our living room & block our passage into the dining room? Yes, there I said it. You're kinda big in the middle. I'm sure you can't help it. And I know that we are partly to blame too, loading you up with trinkets & toys until all your branches are loaded down.
I think it is time that we part ways. Please understand that I'll look back on our short time together & smile. We had fun, didn't we? We'll always have that.

I just need some space right now.
Photo via won7ders

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A little window shopping

Though I can't say that I am 'in want' for anything, that is not to say that I am without want. Here is the proof. I have a million things to do & I just spent way too much time browsing the Huset shop. I am feeling a little bad now...

But here are some things I saw:

How tall are you now, little one? Our girl would reach the horse's snoot, I think.
A teacup with a wooden lid/coaster:
Lovely bowl with drip drops:

Beautiful notecards:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning found us...

Dressing our favorite dolly up in holiday duds:
Eating Swedish pancakes with lemon, powdered sugar & jam:

Crafting a few new ornaments (sparkly mushrooms!):

Resting & reading with our feet up on the coffee table (this is our view from said location):

Advent Calendar: 25

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Clever Tree

Lookie, lookie! Isn't this clever?

(from All the Luck in the World via Hidden in France via the resourceful KMcE)

A flat Christmas tree made with "useless but pretty" odds and ends she has collected over time. So nice for a small space. Or entry. Or hallway. Or...
I don't know if it would be a satisfying replacement for a real tree. I would miss the smell and the depth. I also have a strong distaste for putting holes in my walls. Could this be done as successfully with cork or pegboard? Doubtful. Anybody have any ideas?

Advent Calendar: 23

Monday, December 22, 2008


I don't understand him, but Pablo Picasso consistantly fascinates me. A brilliant monster, a fragile egoist, incessently restless. I can't stop reading about him.

An old photo from Life Magazine via Nothing is New

Advent Calendar: 22

Getting closer!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stars of the Tree

Our Christmas tree is up & is under siege. Both our cat & our toddler are beyond fascinated by the shiny baubles & wooden toys hanging on the lower branches. We are finding our ornaments everywhere: under chairs, in drawers, behind the couch. Fortunately, we put both our dearest & most fragile ornaments up high or deep inside the tree for glimpses of sparkle & depth. Tragedy averted.

The undisputed King of the Tree is our leather lion. And our lucky, plump pig is from a (free!) Wee Wonderfuls pattern (Thank you, Hillary!).

I've said it before & I'll say it again: I love seeing these dear friends again!

Odd note about the lion. I found this noble fellow at the strangest estate sale. That lady had a mind-bogglingly crazy collection of size 6 shoes. An entire bedroom of racks & racks of barely worn high-end shoes in every color & only one style: high-heel pumps. Those shoes & this lion for 50 cents. I left with the lion & a one big, ol' goofy smile.

Advent Calendar: 19

Monday, December 15, 2008

Enchanted Evening

Sunday, late afternoon, my amazing neighbors Lynn & Gretchen hosted the most dreamy dinner. It was a potluck affair to celebrate all that is seasonal & local in our area. Everything seemed to fall into place perfectly (surely the secret magic of a talented pair of hosts working hard for that elusive effect of effortlessness). The guests were all inspired & threw themselves into creating inventive & well-crafted dishes, all inspired by what is now readily at hand. Even the weather stepped up & was on her best behavior: lovely 70 degree December weather, clear blue skies and not a mosquito to be heard.

I made these:
Grapefruit ice cream with David Lebovitz's chocolate macarons. Not too bad.

Long tables and lively conversation:
I walked home with my belly happy, my mind full & feeling like the luckiest person alive.

(Photo credit: Gretchen O'Neil)

Advent Calendar: 15

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Today we drove out to Evergreen Farms, near Elgin, Tex., to cut our own Christmas tree. We've been having such a bad drought here that it felt kind of surreal to be picking out a pine tree while wild gusts of warm, dry air stung our noses & eyes with dry dust. A Currier & Ives winter wonderland it may not have been, but it was an interesting outing all the same.
We came home with a fine tree & will gussy it up in the morning. I'm really looking forward to pulling all the ornaments out of boxes & tissue paper & seeing them again. I've got a couple good, trusty pals I've particularly missed (Leather & straw lion, I'm talking about you)

Advent Calendar Countdown: 13

Friday, December 12, 2008

Making Christmas Cards

It's begun!

Though I picked up a couple of boxes of beautiful letterpress cards from Vertallee Letterpress while checking out the East Austin Studio Tour last month, I couldn't afford to get enough to handle all our cards (every year, we seem to send out more! And more! And more!). So, it's handmade time again this year. I bought a stack of pretty, red stationary & am stamping them with my nifty stamp set from the Yellow Owl Workshop. Add a few tastefully restrained drops of glitter & voila! Done. Instant recession goodness.

Advent Calendar Countdown

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter Cleaning

Inspired by the beauty & efficiency of our new windows, all day yesterday, R & I got busy setting more to rights. R took on the shed, I sewed up a new bag for our paper recyclables, cleaning, cleaning, purging and then, just as the rest of the world was settling down to a nice, quiet evening, we rearranged our all furniture yet one. more. time.

We've been through this drill so many times. Each time seemed better than the last, but none were quite right.

This time though, I think we've got it. Our 12'x13' room now has four distinct areas: a tiny entry area with a table to drop our keys & the mail, a sitting area just off to the left of the door, a play area tucked behind the easy chair, and a second play area next to the bookcase. Me likey.

Toy shelves behind the easy chair:

Comfy sitting area with nice light streaming in from the windows:

I love this arrangement. We have a nice line of sight through the arch and into the dining room & kitchen. It's a great spot for cozying up with a cup of coffee & the paper & watching Baby M play in her new, distinct play area:

One of the shelves on the bookcase is just for her. And soon, when she's old enough, this will be a perfect spot for coloring and working on projects. Right now, she's digging playing tea party with the bright & cheery coffee set Omi & Opa brought back from their trip.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Warm & Cozy

Our new windows are in! We now have brand new double-hung, double-pane windows in our living room & front bedroom. Hubba hubba! Though I was a little sad to see our house's original windows get taken out, the sadness lasted only for about a half an hour, only to be replaced by the euphoria of having new non-drafty, energy efficient windows that open (!) and close (!). How novel!
I don't know if it's just my imagination, but the house feels so much warmer & snug. And the windows are just plain lovely to look at too. Very much like the old ones, but without looking like they've been put through a chipper.
I love winter. I can say this from the safety of living in Texas & not having to actually live through a real winter for more than two dozen days a year. It's more of a fantasy for me, but one I revel in. I have a fetish for winter coats like some people have for shoes. And for sheepskin rugs and fireplaces. We've got the rugs, but no fireplace, which makes hanging our Christmas stockings with care feel a little phony bologna. Still, I dream of the perfect fireplace. Like this Josef Albers design I saw in the new Domino:

Photo credit: Josef & Anni Albers Foundation

Isn't it gorgeous? Not that it would go with our house, but with the right house (ranch house?) it would be unstoppable. That combination of planes of stone & wood is so appealing to me. Throw in a few sheepskin rugs & now we're talking.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This feeling in my belly is satisfaction, pure satisfaction

What a good dinner we had tonight. Such toe-curling satisfaction! Now feeling drowsy-alert and content, through & through, I slip into a pleasant evening: some catching up on the computer & a little book-reading time.

Baby M & I went to Boggy Creek Farm this morning and loaded up on all sorts of goodness: butternut squash, beets, eggs, cheese, lamb & greens, greens, greens. Baby M digs the chicken coop & sand pile. I dig the farm stand & rows and rows of every conceivable shade of green. Such useful beauty.
Photo Via Boggy Creek Farm

Home again with my bags and all inspired, I rolled up my sleeves & got busy. I baked Deborah Madison's Cranberry Bread & also her Provincial Squash Gratin (both from my belovedly worn copy of Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone), Clotilde's Lamb & Prune Meatballs (with black currants standing in for chopped prunes) & a huge salad with a mustardy dressing. Throw in the last of the red wine & voila! I feel like a million bucks.

Oh, and all this with a fresh load of whites billowing on the lines & Baby M's friend K spending the afternoon with us. I was a busy little bee today.

Speaking of laundry on the line, I love these thoughts on the pleasures of hanging out one's laundry. I am trying to think of a decent way to print this out (or paint?) to have it near our washing machine to see, be reminded & bccome aware again. Not that I need to be reminded, per se. For me, the happy sight of rows of clean clothes & linens undulating on a line is almost eclipsed by the anticipation of a restocked wardrobe and crisp, fresh sheets waiting for bedtime.

Today, the pleasures do not stop rolling in.

Photo Via MontanaRaven