Yearly Archives: 2011

joyful days

Merriest of winter wishes to you and yours!

advent calendar

This year, I was a bit late in putting up our advent stockings. It looks adorable hanging there, but the kids were never super excited for it, for some reason. And I have the hardest time coming up with what to put in the stockings. Not doing candy, for sure, no more trinkets are needed in this house, and I tried to plan activities for each day, but that usually never works out smoothly. Life is too chaotic and random to know that I will want to sit and make a gingerbread house on the 16th of December, or whatever it may be. We need to take one day at a time around here. So, I got them this calendar, and they actually really, really love it! It’s the simplest little thing, but it’s so snug to watch the Victorian village grow, leading up to a big Christmas tree in the center on the 25th. There are all sorts of cozy little things happening in the village, and they love to stare at it and ponder the “olden days” This is just the sort of thing I loved as a kid, as well. And no chocolate or trinkets! yeah! One of these years, I may embark on the ultimate project, though. (maybe!) Inspired by those Playmobil advent calendars, I thought it would be super cute to have a little mouse house, or a rabbit, or some other small critter’s dwelling, and every day there would be a new piece to fill their little burrow and decorate it for Christmas. eep! Totally ambitious, but maybe when I find myself twiddling my thumbs when the kids are in school all day….
Well, these final days before Christmas are super busy, of course! Today we’re baking gingerbread men for my Dad (his favorite treat every year). Are you doing anything cozy for Winter Solstice? We usually roast a big hunk of meat, light the fire, make some mulled wine and fire up some medieval carols.  I love it.

glad tidings!

Kid crafts are in full effect over here. My three year old is a confetti factory, busily whiling away a good 40 minutes just cutting little chunks of paper and littering them all over the house. Her other favorite activity is folding paper into mishapen lumps, and wrapping them in yards of tape. She then presents them to me as a gift with such tender sincerity, that I couldn’t possibly be mad that she literally used almost all the tape.
My eldest is having an ornament exchange at school, so she came up with this idea, which I thought I’d share. She rummaged through my things and found this little bird, and asked to needlefelt a nest for it, and then found little treasures to tuck in with it. Then I just poked some wire through the nest to hang it and voila! I thought it was pretty snappy. :) So simple and cute!

cat hair

My husband has always told me that I should needle felt cat hair. As in, people could send me their precious kitty’s tufts, and I could create some oddly sentimental keepsake. Well, I thought this to be a preposterous notion, but clearly not in Japan!
There are 3 volumes of these books! Who would have thought?! I guess hubby was onto something.

You can buy them on etsy, of course, here, here, and here. If you’re so inclined.


I purchased some quinces (yes that’s the plural…seems like it should be quince) last week at the farmer’s market. I love how historical and evocative they seem, and also how fragrant! Wow, do they smell good. Of course, I had no idea what to do with them. I couldn’t afford to buy enough for paste or preserves. So I ended up making this quince biscuit pie. It was absolutely delicious. I wasn’t sure what to expect of a quince, (admittedly having never had one before…what a sheltered life!!) It was sort of like a floral-y apple pear peach combo.  yum. Must investigate quince trees. We may need a wee quince orchard. ;)
This site has some interesting historical info on the quince, as well as tons of other interesting food history. You can take courses on recreating historic recipes, and there’s a great gallery. Dang. Makes my biscuit pie look sad and indeed humble.


This year’s birthday trip took us upstate to Olana where I’ve wanted to go for quite sometime. It was a beautiful day! Unfortunately, I missed half the tour, since I got a bit lightheaded for some reason and had to duck out. But on the way home we had a celebrity sighting on the street of a tiny little town. Liv Tyler! It’s always fun to spot a celeb, but to be in the middle of nowhere; what are the odds? Then, much to my delight, Jay got me a dulcimer! He has tried to no avail to get me to be more musical (mostly by trying to convince me I should break out my clarinet from 8th grade, so we can team up and pay Klezmer tunes, him on fiddle, me on clarinet…definitely not into brushing up on my clarinet skills) And he got me an Autoharp a few years ago, that is gathering dust. But I love the ducimer, and I’ve learned 3 songs so far, and am not ready to throw the thing across the room.
When I’m a pro (ha!) maybe I can get one with charming little hearts or scrollies. Maybe secretly that’s why I love it so much. I picture myself sitting under a tree, wearing a dress ala Jean Ritchie with my folksy hearty dulcimer.


Check out Clara’s first needle felted doll! I think she’s pretty cute, although I’m a bit biased.

Note – I definitely don’t condone setting your 5 year old loose with felting needles.  Clara did this with the utmost caution and under careful adult supervision.

why, hello

well, perhaps it’s a sign that after months without a peep from me, I finally sit down to blog, compose my little post, and when I go to publish it, it vanishes!! So, I’ll try again! ;)
I thought that it was high time that I checked in. The summer whizzed by, in its usual fashion. We managed to have a lovely time, before it was cut short by rain, and more rain and yet more rain. We had a few perfect river days, a trip to the beach, a 5th birthday, lots of time visiting with family and friends; we even managed to squeeze in a solo overnight trip. And now it’s that delicious time of year…autumn! And with that little zing in the air, I decided that maybe I should drop by and say hello again. Fall always makes me feel more cozy, nesty, bloggy.

Todays lunch was grass soup (and a fried egg), artfully prepared and splendidly presented by Clara, who had the day off from Kindergarten.

We made some leaf garlands…

We even managed to get some garden time in, harvesting kale and swiss chard (there’s still quite alot out there!) and freezing it. I pickled the chard stems, hmmm…interesting! And behold…we have carrots!! Every year we try carrots to no avail. They’re usually scary little deformed nubs, but this year, we had success! These are some fancy red variety of which I can’t recall the name.



There was a pleasant surprise this weekend…Earth Angels had a show and sale in my very own little town. I can never escape unscathed.

A charming pinkeep by Kim Stout, and hmmm…what’s that in the background?

Oh, it’s only the most adorable watercolor by Krys Kirkpatrick! Check out her blog, for sure. Serious cuteness happening over there. I also brought home a doll by Valerie Weberpal and something else that is classified. ;)
Earth Angels, much to my wallet’s chagrin, I hope you come back next year!!

simple things

In an effort to renew my blogging motivation, and to keep things easy, I think I’ll make Fridays a day devoted to simplicity. This time of year, there are so many small pleasures to find yourself delighted by….

fresh eggies from pop-pop’s farm.

big fat radishes.

spending all day trekking around to antique stores, only to realize that the best ones are down the street. Ironstone plates and bowls purchased there for a super price.
have a lovely weekend!