November 27, 2012

And a short pause

{or How I spent a few days gearing up for the coming of December}

skimming Poetry books and watching Larry David make a mess of things in old episodes of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

cooking up a batch of turkey noodle soup

hanging a few wintery/holiday things

trying to be Alicia Paulson (it's hard! dang, she's good)


doing dishes while Izzy lays at my feet (there's a heat vent under the sink kickboard)

enjoying my new oil lamp (purchase inspired by my pilgrim obsession of last week)

walking by this downtown apartment window (just as it asked to be photographed)

impulsively purchasing some deliciously retro fabric — vintage Santas and folks strolling festive city sidewalks — then grabbing some polymer clay because I suddenly felt like making tiny snowmen


I'm easing myself into the Christmas season. If I rush in too quickly I tend to grow weary by the time the actual day rolls around, so I'm taking it slow . . . humming along with the tunes in the stores, browsing the gifts, but not buying too much yet.

I'm also decompressing from watching the entire 2nd season of 'Downton Abbey' while my mom was visiting. I was in a British WWI-era fog for several days, dreaming of wearing exquisite gowns and attending dinners with Matthew Crawley. Oh dear. Thankfully, the effect has worn off and I'm back to my old self again.


See those poetry books? Remember my "Poetry Workshop" class? Well, let me just say this — analyzing poetry is kinda hard and boring. It seems the more I think about HOW to write it the WORSE I get at actually writing it! Aaack!

BUT - the Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl was on last week and it was really fantastic. Thus concludes my class on the Dust Bowl. I gave myself an 'A' for participation, effort and knowledge retention. :)

What are you up to these last November days?

November 26, 2012

Parent Rap

I think I'm a little late to the party on this but I just had to share. Maybe there are a few of you out there who, like me, aren't up on everything that "trends" on the web and have yet to see this awesome "Parent Rap." It's seriously genius.

Now back to trying to find 101 ways to use leftover turkey in recipes and other creative ways . . .

November 20, 2012

A Poem for Thanksgiving

In honor of Thanksgiving I'm sharing this poem by Mary Oliver. A printed copy of this poem has been riding on my refrigerator door for several years now. 

My days are all full of visiting and turkey talk and menu planning, with small bits of design work and carpooling thrown in the mix. If I don't make it back before Thursday to wish you the happiest of Thanksgiving days, know I am thinking of you all and listing my blog friends among all of life's gifts. I am so thankful that I decided to stick my toes in the blogging waters and that you are all here, walking the shoreline with me. Thank you for reading, writing, dropping me notes, and being by my side.


There are a lot of words meaning thanks.

Some you can only whisper.

Others you can only sing.

The peewee whistles instead.

The snake turns in circles,

The beaver slaps his tail

on the surface of the pond.

The deer in the pinewoods stamps his hoof.

Goldfinches shine as they float through the air.

A person, sometimes, will hum a little Mahler.

Or put arms around old oak tree.

Or take out lovely pencil and notebook to find a few

touching, kissing words.

- Mary Oliver

November 16, 2012

Foggy Morning Antiquing

November 14, 2012

Tasha Tudor's Candlemaking Illustrations

 full illustration above, details below

In the book A Time to Keep Tasha Tudor highlights her family traditions and holiday celebrations for each month of the year. We owned this book when I was a child and I used to pore over the pages. Now I have my own copy and I still look through it often.  My girls love it as well. Tasha's tiny details and decorated borders are so fun.

Of November Tasha says "On Thanksgiving we roasted the turkey before the fire. So many relatives came to visit that the children had to sleep in the barn. We did plays and charades and had a literary contest with a handsome book for first prize. That's the month we made Christmas presents and a year's supply of candles."

Aren't her candlemaking illustrations dear? (and of course there's a corgi under the table - there's always at least one corgi, often more like four, milling around in her drawings.)

November 13, 2012

Colonial Times

Image by Jerry Patterson

All that Thanksgiving/Pilgrim talk yesterday started me on an online quest for everything colonial. I spent a couple hours last night reading all about candle making (I want to do this SOON) and watching videos produced by the people in Colonial Williamsburg. By bedtime I had decided that someday I want to go live and work in Williamsburg — even if it's just serving food at the tavern for a short time.

This was one of my favorite videos (click here - it's just 6 minutes long). I'm amazed at how easy these folks tackle the tasks of shearing sheep and spinning yarn. 

Today I am wishing I lived in the 1700s. *sigh* Here is the link to the Colonial Williamburg site — lots of fun stuff to read and drool over.

Question: Have any of you made your own candles before? Did you use soy or bees wax? I'd love to hear any thoughts of candle making tales. Do you think I can get my family to support a 'candle light only' approach to interior lighting?

November 12, 2012

Pilgrim Dreams

This weekend was just what the doctor ordered. I got lots of R&R and whipped that nasty cold into submission. I'm feeling nearly 100% and rearing to get busy plotting and planning for Thanksgiving. Just a little over a week to go, folks!

This year's Thanksgiving Day Players:

~ Me - the chef (although Gary gets the turkey in the pan because I really hate to touch raw meat)

~ Gary - Guitar strummer, football watcher, turkey slicer

~ Emma & Kate - Macy's Parade watchers, lounge-abouts, chat-n-munch duo

~ My mother - arriving from Texas in just two days. Assistant chef. Crazy laundress (as post-traumatic stress from having 6 kids she is constantly doing laundry. She will wash any swatch of cloth she encounters, short of yanking the clothes off your body)

~ My mother-in-law - lives in town, pie-maker

~ My sister - flying in from New Hampshire . . . and 

~ Her boyfriend

Yippee! Bring it on. 

I've always loved Thanksgiving. The parade, the day spent fussing around in the kitchen, the mashed potatoes, the pumpkin pie, the family, football announcers, laying on the floor like a lump after dinner.

Plus, I had ancestors on the Mayflower so I kinda like to think of myself as a true pilgrim . . . deep down. A soap-making, embroidering, reading-by-candlelight kind of pilgrim.

Of course anyone who knows me knows that I would have made a terrible pilgrim. I think I would've complained a lot and needed quite a few naps. The long, cold winters spent milking a cow, hand washing laundry with lye and schlepping chamber pots outside would've put me right over the edge. I would've either died of exhaustion, starvation (from refusing to eat the salted meat from the barrel) or the other villagers would've taken me on a long walk and "accidentally lost" me in the woods.
Lucky for me I don't need to test my pilgiming skills. I just need to make a dinner and eat an excessive amount. Now THAT, I can do.

For now I'm trying desperately to hold Christmas at bay until the last of the leftovers have been stacked in the fridge and the dishwasher is running. It seems such a shame to overlook the holiday of "giving thanks." 

That said, I have a tiny confession (you know I love to confess) I found myself listening to a little Christmas music while I worked today. I love Christmas music with all my heart — Bing, Nat, Ella, Frank, Glenn Miller . . . I can't get enough of that stuff! 

Hope your Monday's been groovy. As always, I soooo appreciate you dropping in. It means a lot to me.

November 8, 2012

Sniffle, cough, snort, moan

{or "Boo Hoo For Me, I Have a Cold"}

I feel like crap. I have one of those colds where you can feel your brain banging around on the inside of your skull and every time you stand up you feel like you're going to faint. I'm wearing lots of layers, resting when I can, drinking lots of hot tea with honey during the day, and drinking my fair share of Nyquil at night.

A cold front moved in today and began spitting bits of snow. Tonight the real storm hits and we should have snow falling for the next three days. Sounds like a jammies-movies-crocheting-hot tea and soup kinda weekend.

Other things I'm doing when I'm not sniffing:

~ Reading "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann. It's really good. Heartbreaking, but good.

~ Crocheting lots of white granny squares with no specific use in mind, just piling them up (?!)

~ Thinking about Italian Wedding soup. My friend Crystal over at The Skillet blog posted the recipe and it reminded me of my sister-in-law, who comes from an Italian family from Yonkers, New York. It's a tradition in her family to serve this soup as a first course before the big turkey dinner. She made it for us when she came for Thanksgiving several years ago and it's sooooo tasty.

~ Daydreaming about learning to quilt.

~ Listening to this song. I love Zooey Deschanel.

~ Giggling a little as I watch these poor children who think their parents ate all of their Halloween candy. I love the little kid who just drops to the ground.

What are all of you up to this week?


November 6, 2012


I've worked myself into a frenzy today. Besides a lot of freelance design work, and an impromptu sleepover of a bunch of 14-year-olds (no school for them today), these elections have got me feeling a nervous wreck.

For some reason this election has got me biting my nails and wringing my hands. I feel strongly about some of the candidates. There's a huge Senate race here in Montana and I think I might cry if the guy I want doesn't win. I know in the end it will all be okay, but darn-it, I feel like I might have cardiac arrest waiting for the results.

Meanwhile, I'll be glued to the TV tonight. I've always been an "election coverage watcher." I remember sitting in front of a tiny black & white TV in 1976 watching the electoral votes come in for Carter. Then again in 1980, on a bigger TV now (and in color), watching Reagan beat Carter. I begged my parents to let me stay up until things were fully decided.

Off to watch ~ have a good night!

November 2, 2012

Unknown blessings

I came across this quote early this morning. I read it, then sat with it a bit to let the words sink in. 

I could almost hear a distant wind, carrying those unknown blessings. Across plains and through mountain canyons. Rising and dipping with the breeze, like crisp fallen leaves.

Unknown blessings, dancing along dirt roads and city streets, washing up on doorsteps all around the globe. Millions of them . . . enough for everyone, everywhere.

So much faith and hope in this little quote. 

Wishing you all a happy weekend.

November 1, 2012

Two Little Bees & A Teen

Thank you for enduring my Halloween rant on Monday. 

Now that it's all said and done I can honestly say things went festively well. Also, I have a confession: 

I want you all to know that I am now one of those people who puts their pet in a costume. I truly never thought I would be a pet-costume person, but if there's one thing I've become progressively more sure of it's that you should "never say never" because life is always a wild ride. That said, last year I thought pet costumes were silly. And this year I CROCHETED A PET COSTUME for my yorkie. Oh my. 

But she was so stinkin' cute in it. Then Kate decided to join in the fun and be a bee too. It was a regular swarm around here. Emma decided this was the year to call it quits. She still wanted a photo though, so we took one of her, dressed as herself (note the cell phone, which I think is permanently adhesed to her hand). 

How were things in your neck of the woods? Spooky? Chocolatey? Were there any costume-clad animals?

Autumn in New York

Thinking of all the folks on the East Coast who continue with the cleanup from Sandy. What a mess life can be sometimes.