Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

"I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. " - Harry Burns, When Harry Met Sally
A decade ago I spent New Year's Eve with Vivi- neither of us fans of the hoopla and both of us apart from our respective terrible boyfriends. We had plans to go to a party and then we didn't have them, so we spent the night walking in the freezing cold of Boston looking for a perfect spot to ring in the new century. It is a long story that ends with us eating pea soup and rice pudding, grabbing the first cab we could at 12:01 to get out of the single digit frigidity and getting back to my apartment for some When Harry Met Sally.
I love that movie and the quote I posted above. What I love most about that New Year's Eve however, is that I finished the century with the person who was with me through all the best and worst times of our adolescence, the person I laughed and cried with the most, the person who inspired and comforted me. I am always grateful for that (and that the aforementioned terrible boyfriends are not the lovely gents we call ours today). 
Happy 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

if I MUST make a resolution...

Forget resolutions for the lot of the year - I'd rather just focus and enjoy each and every one of those 365 days when I'm actually in 'em (hey! I think I just tricked myself into a resolution... oh, the power of the New Year! You've caught me in your evil web once again!!)

image via dreamcatcher

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Abigail Halpin

I love it when my Etsy obsession leads to something When I was looking for ornaments for my dream tree I found one in the Miss Avocado shop  

and I found illustrator Abigail Halpin. Not only was I enchanted by the items in her shop, I loved her blog and how she shares her work, her process, and inspiration. I have always loved seeing the sketching and brainstorming of an illustrator- the art coming to life. Ms. Halpin's blog is the perfect spot to witness the creative process and her shop is the ideal spot to treat yourself to some of that amazing art... 

Monday, December 28, 2009

gold in the new year

by *littlemewhatever (via weheartit)

I love the glitter of gold against the barest and palest of backgrounds or up against dark or worn wooden - it's so earthy yet ethereal... perfect for the new year, don't you think?

"fleur de lis structured multichain" by white owl

by loou

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas according to Linus

Charlie Brown:

"I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn't have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don't know what Christmas is all about."

[shouting in desperation]
"Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"


"Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about."

[moves toward the center of the stage]

"Lights, please."

[a spotlight shines on Linus]

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Here's hoping that despite all the madness of the holidays - you get a chance to rest, have plenty of laughter, and an abundance of love from the ones that mean most to you. Merry Christmas everyone!!

(sources: 1st image, text, 2nd image)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This week is all about sweet treats around here. I decided to put up three favorites- some classic sugar cookies, Gramercy Tavern Gingergread, and a Christmas cocktail (for after all the wrapping gifts, making food, and hanging stockings with care).

Crackly Sugar Cookies


2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar (sanding or granulated) for rolling cookies

1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl sides and bottom. Add yolks, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth, about 30 seconds.
2. Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar and mix on low speed until dough comes together. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons and roll between your hands until smooth.
3. Roll dough in sanding or granulated sugar to coat and place on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets. Bake cookies until they are golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center, about 16 minutes. Immediately transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Image courtesy of

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread


1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Accompaniment: Unsweetened whipped cream

1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess. 2.Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.
3.Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. 4.Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
5. Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles.

6.Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes.Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.
Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.

Image courtesy of

Candy Cane Cocktail

Makes one cocktail

1 candy cane, crushed, for garnish
2 ounces strawberry vodka
4 dashes white creme de menthe
2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
Ice cubes


Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.
In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into prepared glass; serve immediately.

Monday, December 21, 2009

the smell of oranges and cloves

by stephanie levy

Yes, indeed, a craft that I am actually capable of making...

Oranges studded with cloves is one of the simplest and sweetest smelling things and it's perfect for the holiday season. The scent is one of my all time favorites and who could resist hanging one on the tree or tossing a few in a bowl as a centerpiece? Plus, I love how they look like strange medieval weapons or ancient magical globes...

This year, because of work, I've gotten seriously behind in decorating and doing little things like this, but, friends, watch out because I have the feeling that I will be going craft crazy in 2010. And there is no question that I am going to start with these - they are the perfect touch to any hostess, house-warming, or Christmas present -- don't you think?

And if you are as craft challenged as I am, here are instructions (with illustrations!) on how to make your own. It's easy enough to do with the kids, but also something you can put your own style into it with different clove patterns or using other citrus fruits like lemons. And you can also tap into your inner Martha by incorporating ribbons or displaying your creations as wreaths or as garland.

Though, to be honest, I love the simple beauty of these clove studded oranges lounging in a bowl or just the one hanging on the tree like an ancient ornament that is still oh-so fragrant...

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's snowing!

And now if I could only move into this cozy little illustration....

from "The Happy Rabbit" (1963)
illustrations by Patricia Barton

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday, a Christmas Tree, and Etsy

Just a over a week until Christmas and my own tree is certainly worse for the wear. It has been loved to death by a very grabby 16-month-old and I swear I can see it quaking when she enters the room. Still, I love having a tree up in the house- the smell, the glittery lights, the beginnings of what will hopefully become a giant ornament collection.

Last week Vivi decorated her dream tree and this week I am going to give it a try. I'm going to put together the type of tree I would love to have up in the kids' playroom. Poking around for this project made me wish I could have a tree up year round, but I doubt there is a fir or spruce out there that would volunteer for that job!

For catching all the needles and well-loved ornaments-

The necessary sparkle and shine-

Some soft, colorful characters-

Some a little less soft, but just as wonderful....

Finally, the big guy himself!

So keep your fingers crossed my real tree makes it until Christmas… I may wind up with only my dream tree standing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

haunted by a black leather couch

"Sunken" by remember moments

I've got a bit of news - in the new year I will be packing up my apartment and moving in with my sweet and wonderful boyfriend.

What is exciting about this is that he has a great house, some fun art, and is open to redecorating his place (oh, and I enjoy his company - I guess that's a good thing he's got going on too...)
What is not so exciting, you ask? His black leather couch.

Yes, it belonged to his grandfather, is in great shape, and does not necessarily scream 90s bachelor pad, but it still feels like it'll be a challenge to "warm up" and decorate around (with my fondness for the color orange - the living room could easily start to creep into... well... creepiness).

Apartment Therapy has a piece on how to "Decorate Around a Dark Leather Sofa" which gives me hope as do these images where people have actually made the black leather work. All I have to do now is hire one of them... le sigh.

via houzz

via decor8


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