Monday, December 17, 2012

Edward Curtis

Yesterday I heard Timothy Egan on NPR talking about Edward Curtis and his photographs of Native Americans and his book Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher.  These photos are so beautiful and so modern in some ways.  They are my new favourite things.  They are so evocative and magical.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Darling Deer

After seeing Sweet Paul's deer with glitter antlers I was convinced that these would make me extremely happy and christmasy.  Mine are not as well photographed (or probably as well glittered) but they are pretty rad.  I used silver glitter nail polish instead of paint and glitter since I figured my accuracy might be better that way.  I'm pretty pleased with them.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Halls, Deck The

This weekend I went home and got a Christmas tree with my sister and my mother and I went all over the fields of the christmas tree farm picking up branches of greenery and the nice lad at the farm let me take them home for free.  They were just going to be thrown away anyway.  This morning I have tied up bunches and attempted wreaths and made swags for over the door.

We are decking halls and lighting candles.  Tomorrow is David's last final and then we have all wide open days until January 2nd when I start my job.  I'm almost finished with Christmas shopping and the mouse is making his merry way toward the 25th.  What are you doing at your house to ready yourselves for Christmas?

Thursday, December 6, 2012


After seeing this pin last year I had fantasies of displaying all my Christmas cards on a wreath like that.  It never happened last year but sometime in the spring I found that weird siamese twin pinecone and yeah, I hoarded it till this Chistmas.  I bought a 16" embroidery hoop and used the inner section for the wreath.  I hot glued a red ribbon and the conjoined pinecones on the the top.  I picked up the medium sized clothes pins from Michaels (their app is out of hand, 40% off coupons galore) and hot glued them around the edges, alternating facing in and out.  I think I might get more and increase the number of pins facing outward.  So far the hot glue has been strong enough but a really quality crafter would probably have used epoxy or something.  And I later picked this dripped hot glue off with my fingernail, because I'm mucho glamorous.

Last night we also put up the advent calendar, already 6 days late.  David had a cloth one with a mouse that would move through the days and the first year we were married I made the calendar and last year I used Vintage Ric Rac's Mouse Pattern to make a tiny mouse to hop from day to day.  I glued a little bottle brush tree into his wee arms.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter Branches

Sometime over the summer I saw this pin and wanted to do something with paper birds and natural elements this Christmas but I wasn't crazy about all that babies breath and thought it wouldn't last very long.  I thought about glittery birds in a winter branch.  All fall I kept my eyes out for a branch I thought would work and pounced on this one in October (and stored it in our closet and David asked me eighteen times why I had it and when it was going to go away please).  On Saturday David was at school prepping for finals and I was trying to put off going to the grocery store and doing laundry.  I pulled out some of my stationary cards (I didn't have any real cardboard) and Modge Podge and some Martha Stewart glitter  and I was ready to roll.

 I made a cardboard template (on my very messy work surface) of a flying bird and then traced it repeatedly on my card stock.  After cutting out a bunch of birds I brushed them with Modge Podge and covered them with glitter and let them dry.

Mean while I strung this branch by thread from the ceiling using pushpins to hold into the ceiling. 

 Once your wee glittery birds are done you just poke a whole in them with a push pin and hang them from your branch.

And yes.  There are too many photos in this post.  And yes there is a ladder in these photos as I was standing on it to hang the wee birds.  And yes if you make this your father might say "I don't quite get the concept." and "it's a disembodied branch, what's it suppose to be?" but he'll still go see Susan Stamberg read Chanuka stories so it's okay.

Cookies: for Christmas, for rolling, for eating

The afore mentioned sugar cookies cut into hearts and spread with toffee are delectable. Just a thought.

Note: Apparently there is some danger of toffee made in the can exploding and pouring hot sugary death all over everyone.  Here is what I've done many times without incident (but be away of hot sugary death as a concern)  - remove label and put can of sweetened condescend milk in a heavy dutch oven.  Cover with water and let water boil for about two hours.  Top up water as needed but if you fill it all the way up and keep a heavy lid on it the whole time you shouldn't have much trouble.  After two hours turn off the heat and let it sit until you can remove the can without tongs or anything.  Pop it open and spread it on all of the cookies and fill a cake with it and eat it awkwardly in the kitchen by the spoonful.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

If You Read This Blog...

Tell me what your favourite Christmas song is. I need some new holiday tunage. It's that or bake cookies and quite honestly my jeans can't take any more cookies.


Giving, For Boys

This year has been a crazy year for David and me.  We moved from Durham to DC, we went from two incomes to none, we went from two forty hour weeks to one eighty hour week and one zero hour week* and from a duplex with a wee yard to a teeny one room flat.  David has been rocking law school and I think he deserves an extra great Christmas.

1.  David howls like a lunatic while watching Stephen Colbert (or Colbizzle as he is called chez moi)  and so America Again might have to make an appearance under the tree.  Colbert is always better in audio book so you can hear his crazy face voice.

2.  To celebrate a new school and a new degree in a new city (and because I am way into university pennants this year) university pennant.

3.  David is big into Fair Isle, big into Christmasy sweaters, big into J. Crew.  This sweater is gorge.

4.  Last year we got my father and mother slippers and David got me slippers.  I think maybe it's his turn and I can replace the battered slippers he has worn into pieces.

5.  David is insane about dogs.  He will cross a street like a loon for a chance to pass an Airedale and Roger (the schnauzer) is his best friend.   He could spend hours looking at cute dogs so what could be better than photo book Dog Dogs by Elliott Erwit.

6.  Given the sixteen hour days (sometimes longer!) that he spends in the library at least he can have stylish notebooks.

7.  His family tartan tie (or mine, whoever has a tartan and a pretty one)

8.  We have an ongoing battle about small bedside alarm clocks.  I hate digital and he he hates the tick tick tick of my old analog.  This tick free Big Ben Clock is pretty and quiet.

9. This wooden iPod Dock would be very nice on his dresser.

10.  David is definitely the sentimental one in our family and he wants to keep photo albums and get picture frames.  I love these Pinhole Press photo books and I think he would allow these instead of pasting photos into an actual album.

* that would be my unemployed ass.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Not Buying

This Visual Essay about a year without shopping by Sarah Lazarovic is great.  I keep thinking I should try a year without buying.  But maybe that would be better done in my fifties.  Like Judith Levine.  I just got an office job for the first time in three years and I need to look good and I'm a chubster and need new clothes that fit.  So I can look professional and people will promote me.

I guess I buried the lead.  I got a job.  And it's a really good one.

Giving, For Besties

1. For all the drinking - May You Never Flask
2. For wearing to brunch - Raw Pink Tourmaline Earrings
3. For hanging on the walls of their groovy apartments - NY Print
4. For wearing to the farmers market - Clutch
5. For wearing out to lunch with a sundress - Silk Clutch
6. For when one just needs salty and sweet - Bacon Chocolate
7. For the most stylish of fridges - Gemstone Magnets
8. For keeping notes on everything - Colour Block Notebooks
9. For wearing every single day - Trio of Earrings
10.  Because we should bring back Friendship Bracelets in style

Friday, November 30, 2012

Giving, For Mums

My mum actually does  on occasion read this blog so I'm not going to post anything that will actually be under the tree for Mumsters this year. I wish I had a million dollars so I could get my mum ALL of these things but since I can't I'll send them out into the interwebs and maybe you'll buy them for your mum.

1. I think one of us almost always gets pajamas for our mother, mostly my brother, if I were going to get her pjs this year I'd get her these Constalation Pajamas.
2.  While this year plants are absent from her Christmas list she has typically asked for a jade plant or something else fun.  I really love this rosemary plant.
3. This gorgeous jacket is one of my favourite things and my mum would look super glam in it.
4.  I think Mummie is a raw diamond earrings kind of a lady.
5.  She is also a big old hippy and I think she might be interested to know how black beans eliminate damp.  Healing with Whole Foods will tell her all about this.
6.  When I lived in York for a year I brought my mother loads of the British foods she had as a girl.  They are all available through British Delights foods here.
7.  Since most of her children are out of the house (poor Quatro at home alone) she is all about the horses and has decided that horses don't need to do anything they don't want to do.  They don't like bits so maybe a bitless bridle would be just the thing.
8.  Alexander McCall Smith says that his books are like tea books and my mother likes a good cup of tea of a book like one.  Maybe his newest, The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds, or the similarly tea-like Mrs. Miniver, or A Cotswold Adventure.
9.  My mom is a statement necklace wearer and has been even when everyone else was wearing wee tiny chains with a teensy weensy pendent.  I think this statement necklace is divoon.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cinnamon Hearts

Last night Quatro and I listened to Six to Eight Black Men and made Katy Elliot's Cinnamon Hearts and Alton Brown's Sugar Cookies and watched Christmas episodes of Fraiser.  The cookies are delightful and cinnamon hearts smell magical (although they looked perfect when the went in, some imperfections surfaced while the baked) and David Sedaris' is the very essence of holiday fun. At least in my family.

To counteract Katy Elliot's beautiful pictures here is an ugly one of our hearts.

Giving, For Dads

My dad is a pretty cool guy.  He was on the homepage of the National Day of Listening this year being interviewed about living in Spain after the death of Franco and leaving under duress.  He's an attorney and texts Kanye lyrics to Mary and he is, as Tres says, an Art Mongrel just "gobbling up the art world".  Tres is also an art mongrel so I guess she would know.  He was a chef for a while (and a garbage man) and loves good food more than almost anyone else I know.

1. I am 100% sure that the first song I ever heard was the Morning Edition theme (I was born at home at night and I can't imagine that they didn't put on NPR in the morning as they have every other morning of my life.  The Tivoli Radio is suppose to be the best.
2.  My father introduced me to Cee Lo and Outkast and tells me I'm his "best black jew" regularly.  I think it means he loves me. How about The Lady Killer by Cee Lo?
3. Dad is also a huge believer in buying books on subjects.  He's a big ask an expert kind of a guy.  How about this The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music?  He's always talking about what a bitch Mrs. Wagner was.  I know.
4.  Did I mention that he goes to yoga five days a week?  He does.  And I'm pretty sure that Cork Yoga Blocks are better than the plastic ones they have there.
5.  For cooking his darling daughter dinner - The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
6.  Peppermint Bark needs no introduction.  It means Christmas in a way that nothing else does.
7.  The 20th Century Art Book  so he can gobble up a little bit more of the art world.
8. My parents local coffee roasters  is Greencastle Coffee Roasters and they have a million teas and coffees and they are mostly delicious.  Perhaps a couple of pounds of something delicious that he wouldn't buy for himself

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Last year for Christmas I made each of my siblings a pair of mittens for their stockings.  This year my mitten making is limited to actually making myself a pair.  I read a bunch of patterns and ended up finding this typewritten in my grandmother's* knitting stuff.  If you know where it's from let me know and I'll avoid the copyright infringement and take it down.  I figured it might be written by my gran so I'll post it for you since it avoids any weird setting of the thumb.  Happy knitting.

Grandma Mittens**

I used size 4 double sided needles and a ball of worsted weight yarn.

Cuff - Cast on 44 stitches and divide on 3 needles. 
Join, work in round k2 p2 ribbing for 3 inches. 
Decrease 2 stiches in the last round.  There should be 42 stitches.
Hand - K even for 2 rounds.
First increase round: Increase one stitch in the first stitch, k1, inc 1 in the next stitch, k to end of row.
K 2 rounds even.
Second increase round: Inc 1 stitch in the first stitch, k3, inc 1 in the next stitch, k to end of row.
K 2 rounds even.
Continue to increase with two more stitches in between the increases every 3rd row, increase until you have 54 stitches on.
K 2 rounds even.  Slip the 15 thumb stiches to a stitch holder.
Cast on 3 stitches, there should be 42 stitches on now.
Continue to work even until the measurement above cuff is 6 inches.  Decrease 3 stitches in the last row.
First decrease round: k2tog every 3rd and 4th stitch, 10 times
K even 3 rows
Second decrease round: k2tog every 2nd and 3rd stitch, 10 times
K even 3 rows
Third decrease round: k2tog in succession all the way round.  Break off yarn, leaving a tail.  Draw end tightly through all stitches and fasten off.
Thumb – Slip to two needles the 15 stitches from the stitch holder.
With 3rd needle pick up and knit on the 3 cast on stitches.
There should be 18 stitches on  the needles for the thumb.
K around until the thumb  measures 2 inches above the cast on stitches.
First decrease round: *k1, k2tog* repeat 5 times
K even 2 rounds
K2tog in succession.
Finish as for top of mitten.

Make another mitten exactly the same way! 

* Does't she look like Olivia de Havilland? Isn't she gorgeous?
** And yes that blanket is that bright in real life. One of two family tartan blankets we got from the UK contingent as wedding presents.

Giving, For Brothers

My Rad brother is basically the raddest of them all. If you have to buy a present for your brother you should probably just buy them my brother's cd. Slightly psychotic sisterly plug through with, my brother is a hard guy to shop for. I don't bother to buy him music unless it's something he's asked for, he doesn't play sports or drink liquor so there go all the paraphernalia that goes with that. For my mega hip brother these are the things I'm keeping my eyes on.*

1. Music, not so much but music STUFF? Yes. Bear Speakers
2. Last year in his dorm he had antlers borrowed from his girlfriend's brother, he had to return them when they broke up so maybe some ebayed antique antlers would be groovy.
3. Requested music, Melody's Echo Chamber CD
4.  Presents you can eat are always a good bet and these have the added advantage of combining coffee and chocolate, Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
5.  My brother has been known to wear extremely large fair isle sweaters from goodwill and reply to everything we say in his best nordic 'yah'.  And this is gorge -  Fair Isle Sweater
6.   Fancy Soap for shaving etc from Etsy is right up my hipster brother's alley.
7.  In highschool my brother wore a blazer to football games with a giant striped wool hat (with pom pom) and he's always been a well dressed guy.  Last year I did my best to knit him a tie but this year maybe I'll just buy this one.
8.  This year, as evidenced by my own Christmas list, I am obsessed with vintage collegiate pennants. The ones I found for my brother's school on ebay were a gorgeous dark red colour.
9. Every year there is always one sister who gets to give him what he really wants.  A Starbucks gift-card.  It keeps him happy and warm and caffeinated for months.  Which is really all we want to do for him anyway.

Don't worry, he would never in a million years look at my blog.  I am constantly whining "why don't you looooooove me?" at him.  It gets about as poisitive a response as you'd think.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Last year I sorted out of Christmas cards in early November and was well sorted to send out our navy envelopes that first week.  This year - not so much.  We're back from my cousins and Thanksgiving and it's time to sort ourselves out.  I adore these. Especially Sir Rudolph.

1. Custom Portrait Card; 2. Happy Tree; 3. Sir Rudolph; 4. City Card

Giving, For Sisters

I'm lucky enough to have three younger sisters (I'm Uno, then we have Dos, Tres and Quatro. Its an imperfect system.).  They are smart, gorgeous and the most fun.  If I wasn't living off of student loans I would buy them all the things.  Here are just a few:

1. For Quatro I'd love to get Blood Bones and Butter.  She's just learning to cook and Gabrielle Hamilton makes me want to run away and open a restaurant.

2. For Dos, I would get this fancy looking necklace from the Accessorize in the train station.  It's beautiful.

3.  I've been stalking this "I'm Outdoorsy" Print for years,  it's my favourite and I think Tres with her general distaste for the outdoors and her adoration for gin would be very into it.

4. Quatro has also gotten into "real jewelry" recently.  I think she'd love these Kate Spade Bow Earrings.  They are kind of perfect for a sixteen year old, right?

5.  This scarf with our family tartan is so pretty and would keep every single one of us warm.

6. Tres' sorority sisters called her Mama Llama and I think this Llama iPhone Cover would be a good way of giving a shout out to what she calls her 'real sisters'.

7. These Temporary Bunny Tattoos are another that I'd like to get everyone.  I'm always referring to the younger siblings as the 'baby bunnies' which they like to tease me about.  This fall I got us all matching bunny necklaces with a diamond eye.

8. Tres has been on a chocolate covered fruit kick recently.  I think it's such a lovely way of saying that you luff someone, Chocolate Strawberries.

9. Dos is a costume designer in Dallas and she is always wearing high wasted, Katherine Hepburn pants and children's dresses as shirts and I think pink Butter Nail Polish is insanely stylish and Butter is wooooooonderful.

10. Quatro needs a Foxy Sweater.  She has fox prints on her wall and is young enough that a hipster fox sweater looks cool and not trying too hard (ahem, unlike me).

What are you favourite gifts for wonderful sisterly people?

Monday, November 26, 2012


There is glitter chez moi. Glittery stars and glittery letters, I've been gluing them to ribbon and yarn and hanging them.  David is working late late nights prepping for finals and I am writing cover letters and knitting mittens and drinking lots of tea. An early Thanksgiving gives us a longer Christmas season and more glitter.

Christmas Wishlist

What do you do with your extended family for the holidays?  In my family of origin I am the only one with a spouse and there are no babies, just the five of us and mom and dad and Dave.  Everyone gets everyone a gift and we all sit under the Christmas tree and eat cinnamon buns and drink cocoa and we open presents youngest to oldest.  It's awesome.  In David's family he was the last to marry and we are the only ones without kids.  He has four siblings, four in-laws and nine nephews and nieces and parents.  No one really does presents although his parents get presents for their grandchildren and I started doing baskets for his parents and each of his siblings families of simple things like caramel corn and cookies and caramel sauce.

In my family we make lists for Christmas.  The lists are due December first.  I know a lot of people are anti-list but if my sister wants ballet flats because she already has a hundred scarves I'd rather know so I can get her what she needs.  This year my siblings lists started rolling into my inbox in mid November.  And in case they haven't found the most amazing gift for me yet here are some of my favourite things this winter.

Smitten Kitchen Cook BookVintage College BannerWestie BookendsGlass CandleabraDog Rose PrintGold Bear HeadEngland Coffee CupMercury GlassCat Bag

Monday, November 19, 2012


Sometimes when there is the most to can I'm not in the mood, it's too hot and massive pots of boiling water and peaches on the stove are not really attractive.  Now that it's cold and we're days away from Thanksgiving I am all about the boiling pots.  Onion and Rosemary Confiturra and Pickled Cranberries were just the thing.  We are doing Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house in Virginia after about twenty years of Thanksgiving at my parents house or in various hotels in Tennessee and Connecticut.  My aunt and uncle are INSANELY good cooks so I'm going to cop out and contribute pâté and cheese and my canned goods.  My aunt who is allergic to cranberries can have cherry thyme marmalade.  Poor her though, those cranberries are out. of. hand.    I'm still looking for a job so I have an interview today and tomorrow and somewhere in there pack up and clean the apartment.  I also haven't finished painting the living room which is my one goal before Christmas tree.... lets see if I can make it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Beginning of Holiday Wants

This watch would look rad with the gorgeous outfit I  envision wearing on Thanksgiving.  It will also look rad with the old jeans and Holy Cross sweatshirt I will probably actually end up wearing on Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


For Halloween Dave and I are going to be a hound and a fox.  After stalking the interwebs and looking at some seriously gorgeous fox masks and buying whatever fox-ish coloured felt they had at the fabric store I got started.

I started off by playing around with newspaper and figuring out what shape I wanted.  As you can see I had to adjust the eyes at first they were so high.

I cut it out of red felt and then, in order to make it a little sturdier I sewed it onto another sheet of red felt  and then trimmed it down.

Then I kind of went a little cray-cray with white and black and added ears and eyeliner and a nose and the white foof.  I sewed the elastic farther back and not from the actual side so that from the front you could still see the shape of it and not have it pulled completely back against my head.

When it came to sewing David's there aren't as many foxhound masks available so I just found pictures of them and kind of messed about until I made this:

and once I figured out the ears I wanted to use I sewed the mask on to another layer of felt for reinforcement and then sewed the ears so I ended up with a mask all sorted.

So if you still haven't figured halloween out and you have an hour.....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Farm

I love that my parents house, my home, looks like a gorgeous quilt or a painting from above.   Whenever I wish I was home I google-map it.  That red roof is the barn I had my wedding reception in, that tiny blue square is the pool.  Lovely.  And that road is the last paved road before the mountain, the first of the Tuscarora foothills.