Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell, 2008

view from our balcony

Thank you for continuing to check in here, for your lovely words and thoughts, and for your inspiration.


It has been a really good year. May your New Year be full of joy, creativity, and peace!


Cheers to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Catching My Breath


One thing I love to do post-holiday is curl up with new books. Here's what I'm reading right now:

Tales of Beedle the Bard - I can't resist another J.K. Rowling!

Martha Stewart's Cooking School - Arranged by cooking technique and full of insight into equipment, ingredients, and every other aspect of the kitchen.

The Gentle Art of Domesticity
by Jane Brocket - A look at domestic crafts such as knitting, quilting, baking, and sewing as artistic endeavors. A premise that everyday things can and should be aesthetically pleasing, and that there is value in the homemade.

The Camera by Ansel Adams. This is actually a book I gave Alexi years ago. He suggested I read it recently after yet another conversation with him about "how do I"... The book has detailed advice on camera components such as lenses, shutters, and light meters. (I have had an interest in photography as far back as elementary school, when I learned to develop film and print pictures. Alexi has also long been interested in photography and is greatly interested in its technical aspects. I am not interested in the technical, except as a means to an end. )

What are you reading right now?

taken by my father-in-law Ed


Monday, December 29, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like The Week After Christmas


I love the week after Christmas. The in-between, 'nothing' time. No school, no commitments, no stress. Days for lounging about playing with new toys, reading new books, eating leftover treats, and simply enjoying being together as a family. Here's a look at some of our post-Christmas time around town over the past few days.

Every year since Abbott was one, we've come to Seattle Center's Winterfest. We have spent literally hours of every holiday season watching these trains chug around their tracks.



Every year, we wait in line for the boys to have a turn driving.


I particularly enjoy the holiday decorations at the Market.


Hard to see in this daylight shot are three large produce structures covered in lights (a strawberry, carrot and a pear). They are above the "Farmer's Market" sign and seen through the "La Salle Hotel" sign.



Note the red nosed pig:


I hope in the upcoming week post-Christmas and post-Hanukah that you, too, have plenty of time to relax with those you love.

Friday, December 26, 2008

merry making


Our last couple of days have been full of love, family and joy.

Our candlelight service and the singing of Silent Night are so gloriously beautiful, I always leave with the feeling that peace on earth might indeed be possible.


Peppermint hot fudge sundaes
!




Barefoot Contessa's Country French Omelet


We got Abbott this Knot A Quilt kit and he promptly set to work tying knot after knot.



Wishing you many more merry moments as you continue celebrating.

Monday, December 22, 2008

simple pleasures

ice on my window Saturday morning

While the snow we had over the weekend sadly resulted in canceled pageants and Messiah performances and other festivities, the bright side was a cozy, at-home weekend (with a few minor skirmishes - at one point Abbott called Alexi a "correction monster").

Inside:

a holiday favorite

gift from my mother in law from the Boston Museum of Fine Art

Abbott spent lots of time practicing the piano (facebook friends - I've posted a video); Christmas music has inspired him to learn and play and entertain! Here is "Greensleeves Version 2":


Our cozy Sunday morning breakfast:


Outside:


Last Minute DIY Gift Idea: Hand-Covered Journal by guest blogger Anne Sage

The blogosphere is filled with wonderfully talented women. One of my favorites is Anne Sage from The City Sage. Anne is a writer and wardrobe and interiors stylist who lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Not only is her blog a favorite read, but also I look forward to her comments on my posts, as she always has something interesting or thoughtful or insightful to say. This project is "perfect as a last minute stocking stuffer and a great project to do with the little ones when you're snowed in". Without further ado I give you Anne!


I love a good DIY, especially when it results in something perfect for sharing with others! This year I bought very few gifts and focused instead on homemade presents. Not only did I bake batch after batch of chocolate haystacks and cashew toffee, I also came up with a quick and easy hand-covered journal that’s perfect for the writers and listmakers in your life. I’m constantly amazed at how expensive nice journals can be; so instead I bought cheerful cotton prints in sets of three and created a trio of coordinating journals for less than $15 per set!


1. You’ll need scissors, spray adhesive, a blank hardcover journal, and enough cotton fabric to cover the book with a few inches on each side. I used a 100% recycled blank book that I bought for $3.99 at Office Depot, and quilters’ squares that I bought for $0.99 apiece at Joann Fabric.
2. Lay the book flat on the fabric and trim the material so that there are about 1 ½ inches of excess on each side of the book.
3. Coat the underside of the fabric with spray adhesive (go outside to use this stuff—it stinks!) and spray the book cover as well. Let the adhesive dry for about 30 seconds so that it becomes tacky.
4. Pull the fabric taut over the cover of the book and smooth it so there are no wrinkles. Be sure to smooth it into the crevice along the spine too.
5. Open the book back out and make a single cut in the fabric at the point where the cover folds to meet the pages. This is the point where you will fold the fabric up to adhere it to the inside cover. But don’t fold it yet! Just make the cut.
6. At the corner on the same side where you made the cut, fold in an edge to make a tight corner.
7. Now fold up the panel of fabric where you made the cut. The material should still be a bit tacky from where you sprayed glue on it. Don’t worry if it doesn’t stick 100%—you’ll take care of that later.
8. Complete steps 6 and 7 on the other end of the cover, and then fold the final panel in and smooth it down. If you’ve ever wrapped a present then these folding steps are familiar. Repeat steps 6-8 with the back cover of the book.
9. Flip the book vertically. You’ll have a little tail of material that will need trimming to about ½ inch long and may need another quick spritz of spray adhesive. Press the raw edge of material into the inner lining of the spine.
10. To seal off the loose edges, spray the inside cover and facing page, then close the book and let it dry. That facing page will now act as the inside cover. Voila!

Thanks so much to Lecia for asking me to guest post today, and I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!
xo Anne

Friday, December 19, 2008

My December List

What I'm loving right now...

Winter light. Alexi took this at 4:17pm a couple of days ago.


Lots of unstructured playtime (three snow days this week so far).


Holiday lights.



This little hummingbird that has been hanging in and around our house this week.


Snow and snowmen.

our beach path this afternoon

we don't get snow every winter!

This piece written by the head of Abbott's school: "I am reading this wonderful book by Ken Robinson called, Out of our Minds, Learning to be Creative. The first question Robinson asks is: Why is it so essential to promote creativity? He says that the national government, companies and many organizations are emphasizing as never before the essentials to promote creativity and the high price of failure. What is involved in promoting creativity and what does it mean? Robinson discusses whether or not everyone is creative or just a selected few. He asks if creativity can be developed and, if so, what can organizations do immediately to make the most of their creative resources. What are the benefits of success?

Robinson states that creativity often is seen as purely individual performance. It comes from people who just happen to be creative, who may wear jeans and don’t wear ties. However, in his book, Robinson argues a very different approach saying that organizations face three challenges in making the most of their creative potential and human resources.

  • The first challenge is understanding the real nature of creativity, countering the many misconceptions that we may have that block progress.
  • The second is implementing a systemic strategy for developing individual capacities.
  • The third is that there must be a strategy to facilitate and reward creative output. We need to encourage and nurture our very process that’s meant to develop our natural abilities. What should this look like in education?"

What are you loving right now?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bellevue Botanical Garden d'Lights


Over the weekend we visited the Bellevue Botanical Garden d'Lights. I had heard that this lights display was spectacular, but was unprepared for just how beautiful and extensive it was. Our first snow of the winter began to fall while we were there, creating a magical holiday mood.

Note the alligator in the water:




I loved the peacocks:






Parrot:






Monkey: