Winter is pretty like a fairy's wing.


January 7, 2013




Since the fall, Andrew and I have recommitted ourselves to exercise and we've been taking a great many walks. And they all came to a grinding halt over the holidays when a certain little girl was home from school. But a few days ago, she was back in school, it was sunny, which means there was no rain and despite the fact that it was 26 degrees ~ we went walking! I didn't get that much actual exercise on the first day, because I was stopping for pix every five minutes.

I've decided that even though my hair and skin hate hate hate winter, I don't loathe it as much as I used to. Seasons are kind of interesting, I've decided. While I think I could totally handle the 24/7 of amazing weather I used to take for granted in Hawaii, I do really like autumn leaves, cherry blossoms in the spring, hot summers and the frost in winter. That's fun. Andrew says he would hate to live someplace where there were no true seasonal changes. (I don't know...even though Hawaii only has one season, that season is AWESOME.)

I hope you enjoy the very cool lens flare that managed to pop up in several photos. Both Andrew and I greatly appreciate a good lens flare. It looks like space aliens have landed in the photo. He's pointed out that director J.J. Abrams is the King of Lens Flare. It's true. Go back and watch his version of 'Star Trek'. The man clearly never met a lens flare that he didn't like.


Guess what. I have a special 'Downton Abbey' surprise to show you. Have a change of pants handy. Just in case. It's that exciting! Later this week, I promise....

Cool Stuff I Like


January 4, 2013

As you can see, I'm still clinging, just a bit, to holiday cheer. I'm not sad Christmas is over though. The past two years, I've been happy to see January roll around. I've welcomed the calm after the holiday swirl. How can one be at all unhappy to see January usher itself in when it means that DOWNTON ABBEY is coming!!!!! You know it's THIS WEEKEND right? I can hardly stand it. You'll have to check out MFAMB in the coming weeks, she does the best and most awesome recaps of the show and they are (almost) even better than the show itself. I'm so happy to be back to regular blogging. I love this space so much. I love books. I love cool stuff. I've also realized how much I've missed Pink Sparkle Fun, and I'd love to keep that space trickling along, it's so fun and happy....and PINK. (also, Julia loooooved this little elf from 'Rise of the Guardians', which came from McDonalds. His name is Yeti A. ????)

YAY! COOL STUFF! I've missed looking at cool stuff.

Are you kidding me with this porridge? I wants it!

Cute little kokeshis!

I thought I was alone in my love for Weleda Calendula Cream. I LOVE this stuff!

Winter dessert ideas.

Pretty sure this is the cutest thing I've ever seen in MY LIFE.

One of Julia's big presents from Santa was this knitting machine. It's awesome! She's made a scarf with it thus far.

Christmas makes people crazy. (totally relate)

Hot cocoa add-ins.

WHAT??????? OMG!!

Gingerbread milkshakes. 

Cool Book of the Week: 'I am Pangoo' by one of my great favorites, Satomi Ichikawa. Her art just speaks to me. I have several of her books and each one is dreamlike, beautiful, sweet and gentle. I'm reviewing 'Nora's Stars' soon, which is seriously my all time favorite of hers. But 'Pangoo' I saw at the library and it's ADORABLE, especially for the under-five crowd. Pangoo is Danny's stuffed penguin and he worries that he won't measure up to Danny's newer stuffies, and wonders if his true home is with the real penguins he sees swimming at the zoo. It's somewhat reminiscent in theme to 'The Velveteen Rabbit' and just delightful and charming.

HAVE A LOVELY WEEKEND! Feels like ages since I shouted that at you all. Stay cozy, my friends.


We Got Some Books for Christmas!


January 3, 2013

_DSC0015Ok here’s what is very funny about this picture. You’d assume that all these books were given to Julia, right? NO NO. My brother gave me the awesome leatherbound ‘Narnia’ book and my ma gave me ‘The 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury’, which is INCREDIBLE and seriously has, like, EVERYTHING. I mean everything that is worth having in Kid Lit.

‘Frog & Toad’, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, ‘Curious George’, ‘Pooh’, Dr. Suess stuff, ‘Good Night Moon’, ‘Good Night Gorilla’, Jenny the Cat, some Rosemary Wells, ‘Madeline’, Kevin Henkes, Babar…it just goes on and on. Stuff for littles, stuff for biggers, I’m amazed at how well the great picture book classics are covered here. FANTASTIC.

Let’s go in some kind of order.

_DSC0044_DSC0045The ‘Narnia’ hardcover has the original Pauline Baynes illustrations. There’s neat additional info about the series, like in what order the books were written, as opposed to the order in which they were published. COOL NARNIA BOOK NERD STUFF LIKE THAT.

Did you see that ‘Wake Up Sloth!’ booky up above? Julia longed with all of her being for a baby sloth puppet this Christmas (????). She saw it in a bookstore, and we got it (and said it was from our cat Sally, which confused the BLOODY LIVING HELL OUT OF HER, like she was having a breakdown trying to get out of me whether or not the cat really gave this to her. I was trying to be funny! I should have told her it was a joke, right from the get-go. But I was like, “yes the cat gave it to you” and then she wanted to know if I wrapped it for the cat and I was like “of course, cuz that’s hard for cats”, and it was all SUCH AN ORDEAL OF DECEPTION AND LIES and I totally thought she would get the joke and she totally didn’t. I also put a tag on a present saying that it was from her blanky, and that went over like a lead balloon as well, in terms of confusing the living %$#@! out of her.

(oh this year? 2013? there will be light swearing. Hide your kids!)

P1030841P1030842Anyhoo, our other cat Rosebud gave her this super cool pop-up Sloth book to go with the sloth puppet. I was worried that she’s too old for pop-ups but she loves the book and it has a nice environmental message (hey! don’t cut down all the trees!).

The ‘Pippi Moves In!’ book is comic-book style and since we read ‘Pippi’ this past summer, it was exciting to see this version show up from Santa. Santa has been reading Vintage Books My Kid Loves.

Ok so back to the treasury. Its got some of this stuff in it:

P1030843P1030848P1030849P1030852P1030853P1030859STILL READING? Because we got a couple more books!

I got ‘The Sandman’ book I was hankering after, and it’s a STUNNER. Super cool, and the most amazing pix. I LOVE IT. Haven’t bothered to ask the kiddo what she thinks of it.

Best of Julia’s Bookbag 2012


January 2, 2013

How’s 2013 treating you already? We had a really really great New Year’s Day! I personally had a better time than I did at Christmas. We sat in front of our (faux) fireplace, played games, read stories, ate leftover cheesecake squares, and stayed cozy all day. I strive to be cozy the way other people strive to stay in shape, or gain enlightenment, or pursue pirate plunder or what-have-you.

I can’t really do a ‘Best of 2012’ post based on stats because the all time most-viewed posts on the blog remain ‘Andrew’s Father’s Day Post’ and my ‘Night Circus’ post, both of which were actually written in 2011. GOOD GRIEF, that Father’s Day post just WILL NOT go quietly into the night.

So I’ve compiled a little list of my favorite posts from last year based on their level of AWESOME, my mood, and other hormonal fancies. Isn’t that the way most people decide things? Just me? I think not.


ATfeatureBeing featured on Apartment Therapy is the thrill that keeps thrilling! I still can’t believe that anything I created wound up on the great-granddaddy-site-of-all-things-cool-for-families-and-décor.


japanpartyThis Japanese tea party of SHEER INCREDIBLE, which was profiled on the LMNOP website, was hands down the coolest thing I saw on the internet last year. Nothing else came close. I ooohed and aaaahed over the whole amazing soiree in this post.


_DSC0135The paper dolls kit Julia received for her birthday last year was one of the most fantastically fun gifts we, she has ever received! We spent hours making clothes for these little dollies.


bananacakeIt was tough call between this amazing banana cake I made and my Snowy White Cake, but the white cake is incredibly hard to make and the banana one was easy-peasy so I’m going with the banana. THIS CAKE WAS AMAZING. GO MAKE IT.


_DSC0055If you’re gonna have a treat, you gotta have a lovely drinky to go with it. Moonlight Tea is like swallowing a warm blanky and laying it gently upon the stomach acids in your tummy. DOESN’T THAT SOUND COZY? But seriously (a state of being I strenuously try to avoid), this is the perfect cold-weather beverage. Make and drink while watching a British period film, wrapped in something soft and woolly, and shoo anyone out the door who might disrupt your zen state of coziness.


In my ‘Andrew Has Opinions’ post we learned Many Important Things. Like Andrew’s disdain for British period dramas and Anthropologie, his great love for Sally (his cat wife), and that there are no lengths I will not pursue when it comes to exploiting my poor, long suffering husband in the name of my own entertainment.


PicMonkey CollageHey, how about some books? Did you enjoy any BOOKS last year, Melissa? Why yes. Yes I did. Some of you know by now that vintage books really get me whistling like a teakettle (???), especially VINTAGE FAIRY TALE BOOKS. The posts I did on ‘Great Swedish Fairy Tales’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’ were chosen because I think these books in particular, out of all the ones I reviewed last year, are the most special and unique to read, while being the most beautiful to look at. Oh except the 'Sleeping Beauty' book isn't vintage but that makes no never mind to me.

Also, ‘My Very Own Fairy Stories’ by Johnny Gruelle is flipping incredible but it did not fit nicely into my little collage.

Oh heckfire, I forgot about ‘The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies’, illustrated by Garth Williams. That book is GORGEOUS, BRILLIANT and YOU SHOULD OWN IT.



_DSC0051Why those toy companies had to go hoochify Strawberry Shortcake? Why?


I took some awesome pictures of fall trees reflected in water.

STILL READING???????????? You can stop now. I’m done applauding myself. Actually, what was best about 2012 is that I made several more wonderful friends in the blogging world, and that really really nice people occasionally read my blog and stop and say hello. I can’t tell you how happy-making it is every single time a comment rolls in. I appreciate it so much! Now that it’s officially 2013, I’m really excited to chat books with you, take pictures of pretty things, be silly, and explore the endlessly fascinating world of tea, treats, all things British, and Hello Kitty. We can’t ever forget about her. I won't LET you forget about her.



January 1, 2013

Oh I know my friends. It's been hard. SO HARD WAITING for me to take 10 minutes and make a collage of all the incarnations of the stick tree we did in 2012. But I'm going to put you out of the misery you didn't know you were in, waiting for this EPIC STICK TREE COLLAGE OF AMAZEMENT.

Here it is.





Did that just BLOW YOUR MIND?

Yeah, that's what I thought. Happy 2013!!

Did any of you have a favorite? (I vote for the spring lanterns, followed by valentines, followed by fall leaves. Oh the snowflakes were awesome too. HURRAY FOR STICK TREE!)

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