December 30, 2011

Cool Stuff I Like

Annnnnnd. . . one more shot of the stick tree. I am flipping wild about my stick tree. I’m not taking it down, I have a new plan. In January, I’m going to hang glittery snowflakes. In February, I’m hanging pink hearts. Come spring, it’ll have Eastery neato-ness. And ONLY THEN will I finally acquiesce and put it away for the summer. And hopefully during all that time, I can avoid poking myself in the eye.

Happy New Year! What to know what we’re doing? What we always do. Watching the ‘Twilight Zone’ marathon on TV! Some years back, I got sick on New Year’s and we couldn’t go out. And we discovered this New Year’s miracle of the ‘Twilight Zone’ being on the Syfy channel. So our new tradition became staying in and making (me making) an exotic dish of some sort. One year I made Duck a l’Orange. SO HARD. That sauce took forever to reduce. This year it may be exotic from England – we might be having Welsh Rarebit, which is basically cheese sauce over toast. And watching as many episodes as we can after Julia goes to sleep.

Let’s look at the last COOL STUFF we’ll glance at in 2011:

I adore Seventeen Doors, a Swedish design blog I just discovered.

New Year’s superstitions.

Nigella’s meat pie is one of my standbys. Andrew loooooves it. Don’t skimp on the allspice.

More Nigella. (I love her.) I made her chocolate sprinkle cookies for Christmas. HEAVEN.

A line of teas I am so wanting to try.

I got ‘Everyday Harumi’ for Christmas! Yay! Homestyle Japanese food.

The best hairbrush in the world. Don’t scream at the price. They last FOREVER.

I’m already thinking next Christmas – love these napkin rings.

Cool Book of the Week: ‘Cinnamon, Spice and Warm Apple Pie’ by Ryland Peters & Small is such a cozy delight of a cookbook. So perfect for this time of year. It’s got everything – crumbles, pies, puddings, streusels, cobblers, bettys and crisps, clafoutis, slumps, tarts and strudels. Sounds like the list from my Appley Dappley post!

What are you doing for New Year’s? Going out or staying in? Have I sold you on the idea of the ‘Twilight Zone’ marathon? (I’m trying so hard to feel less nerdy.)

December 29, 2011

2012 Calendars of Coolness

I adore calendars. And I haven’t chosen my personal calendar yet! I could easily have one in every room. For years, every member of my family knew to expect a calendar from me at Christmas. I’ve fallen away from this tradition somewhat, but my great love for calendars continues. There are various customs involving the New Year and calendars, which I find fun and fascinating. Many cultures dictate that it’s bad luck to hang a new calendar on the wall before the new year begins. (So don’t do that, ‘kay?)

2012 Animal Deco Calendar, $17.50.

Happy Teatime Calendar 2012, $23.50.

The Collectible Teapot & Tea Calendar for 2012, $10.39. (I promise that all of these won’t be about tea.)

2012 Paper Source Kraft Grid Calendar, $19.95.

2012 Calendar Kokeshi Garden Wall Calendar, $20.

2012 Calendar Eye Poetry, $24.

Mademoiselle Yo 2012 Wall Calendar, $15.

House & Garden 2012 Vintage Calendar, $18.95.

Rackham’s Fairy Tales 2012 Calendar, $13.95.

Richard Scarry’s Busytown 17 Month Calendar/Planner, $10.94.

Moomin Calendar 2012 from Tove Jansson Illustrations, $26.

2012 Birds & Blooms Calendar, $15.95.

I have a sister-in-law who takes the most beautiful outdoor nature shots, I’m patiently waiting for her to make me a calendar! (HINT.) My dad, aka Mr. Underwater Photography Man, has already made a mini-desk calendar. I so wish he’d get on with mass producing them, so that I could sell his calendars on the blog and then CHARGE A WEE COMMISSION. (Joking.) (Not joking.)

This last calendar (the Birds & Blooms) that you see is one I gave to my father’s fiancee this holiday season. I hope she likes it! They are waiting until New Year’s to open their gifts. I’m seriously torn between the Busytown and the Moomin calendars for Julia; I know she’d flip over either one. If you know of any beauties, please share!

December 28, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

Andrew’s cousin is the most amazing person. So warm, so lovely, and such a delight to be around – I’ve had the best time basking in her glow ever since we met. And the crafting skills – oh my – if the world found out about the way she can sew, knit, craft, garden, and cook like nobody’s business, Martha S. would be out of a job.

I’ve mentioned her artistic skill before in this post. Last week, we were invited over with some of Andrew’s other cousins to decorate gingerbread houses that were baked and created from scratch. Every house. Made. Put together. Along with miniature sleighs, trees, and snow people.

I could live 20 lifetimes and still be unable to do half of what this fantastic lady can do with one hand tied behind her back! See the felt advent calendar right there below? Behold an example of the talent I was telling you about. Ah well, back to basking. . .

(Love this pineapple!)

We ate candies, decorated, ate more candies, had lasagna for lunch, and finished up with just a few more candies. You know, for the road. Oh and I spied some super cool books that we were able to borrow and take home for a few days. A few examples:

‘Rolie Polie Olie’ by William Joyce is a MUST READ. So charming and darling you can’t believe. RUN for this book. Kids from age 3 on up will looooove it.

‘Adele & Simon’ by Barbara McClintock is so beautiful, I simply could not understand how this book had passed my radar up until now. A tour through Paris is had by Adele and her forgetful brother Simon, who keeps dropping his belongings everywhere they go. Enchanting.

Our gingerbread creation is still proudly adorning our dining room table. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to part with it!

December 27, 2011

Rainbow Rooms

Friends, it’s been a Way Too Extremely Much LONG TIME since we’ve taken a peek at some fun children’s room décor. I’ve been stockpiling some favorites and I think it’s time to take a small Christmas break and get down and busy with some serious color fun, kiddo room style. You know me by now, subtlety is not my game. These rooms are not fooling around in their strong punches of tinted glory!

I like RAINBOW ROOMS! (do you?)

What do you think? Is this one above too crazy for ya? See the rug? FANTASTIC!

This one is just too cool. Love everything about it! That massive art piece? The giant stuffed animal squishy place? (What the heck IS that?) That toddler bed? The rug? Put a master bed in this room and you’ve got great décor for an adult, teen, anyone. This room is amaaaaaaazing.

Lovely. Love the teal, avocado green, smidge of yellow and hints of grey.

Red + Yellow = My Favorite Color Combo. Check out that dollhouse!

Have I lost you totally with this one? It’s very Turkish bazaar fab, in my opinion. I don’t know what’s going on with that mobile but I’m way into it.

Are you noticing a purple theme going on here? It feels like when folks decide to do purple, they REALLY decide to do purple.

Crayyyy-zay? Or fab? I love it but I don’t think I could live with it.

Whoa, I would hang that cat picture in my room! I think this room is sweet, sweet, sweet.

The wallpaper! That chest! Did you notice that the ABC print framed in green in the picture above? Cool!

SOOOOOO, what do you think? If I had to actually live in one of these, I would choose the second photo down from the top. Would these rooms give you a headache? I’m not sure even a color lover like me could handle THAT MUCH going on, but they are inspiring in their boldness, yes?

(Image credits, top to bottom: Kenziepoo via Little Nordic, The Glow, Pinterest, Pinterest,, Pinterest, The New Home Ec, Design,,,

December 26, 2011

Merry & Bright

Hope you and yours had the loveliest of days yesterday! Happy Boxing Day! Short short today, I leave you with some holiday images I find particularly uplifting.

‘Nigella’s Christmas’ is divine, as are all her books. Get yours now and you’ll be ready for next year! It’s on bargain price at Amazon. I got mine last Christmas as a gift and I look through it all year long. Her mac ‘n cheese is FABULOUS.

This last image of our chalkboard is a total copy born of admiration of this image from A Legg Up blog, which I saw pinned on Pinterest by gorgeous Vanessa of Silly Eagle Books. What you see is our tiny attempt in miniature on our little chalkboard. The full size version will blow you over with its amazingness!

Eat some treats. Hug your loveys. And have a day filled with happiness and joy.



December 25, 2011

Christmas = AWESOME

Happy Day to everyone!

(Image Credits:

December 23, 2011

Cool Stuff I Like

It’s here. Christmas is really here! I don’t feel too strung out (KEEP THOSE HOT TODDIES COMING!).  How about you? I’ve noticed though that the list of things I wanted to get done/made/cooked/seen BEFORE Christmas has now shifted to the “Let’s do that AFTER Christmas” plan.

I actually love the week between December 25 and New Year’s Eve the best. All the festive is still everywhere but the grand storm of Christmas rush has calmed and I feel like it’s the best part of the holiday swirl. Just wait until you hear how Andrew and I usually spend New Year’s – it’s hilariously dorky. I’m really hoping to spend my evenings reading my new camera manual and/or watching ‘Downton Abbey’ FINALLY. (The new season starts January 8.)

Onwards! Christmas COOL STUFF awaits!

To those who ARE feeling strung out: Anatomy of a Christmas Meltdown. A MUST READ.

I’m getting this as a birthday present to myself. (It’s next month!) Saw it on Design Sponge.

Nutella Playdough!

This is so much easier than a snowglobe. (See the first pic.)

Solstice Luminaries.

Someone needs to give this to me.

Fresh Cranberry and Tangerine Mini Loaves.

Dream Journals. (I LOVE this.)

The most winterific fairytale shiny light bedroom ever.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies.

A Joyful Branch. (I see no reason why this couldn’t hang all winter long.)

Just saw ‘Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas’ with Julia. OH THE CUTENESS.

Cool Book of the Week: ‘P. Bear’s New Years Party: A Counting Book’ by Paul Owen Lewis. I saw this in a used bookstore last summer. It has REALLY cool art. Each hour on New Year’s Eve, Mr. Polar Bear invites another of his animal friends to his holiday soiree – kids get to count the animals and become familiarized with the hours on a clock.

Merriest of holidays to you! Thank you so much for participating in this special season with us. I’ll be right back on Dec. 26 (CALENDARS next week!!! I don’t have my new one yet!) so come by and let me know 1) what you ate, 2) what you got, 3) what Santa gave your kiddo and 4) how many hot toddies you had (joking) (not joking).