Saturday, December 25, 2010

happy merry

very merry

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

in the spirit of things

It's late and we have plenty of Christmas projects to attend to, but I couldn't resist doing a post about my favorite movies to watch around this time.

Such a beautiful movie.

I failed to find any good clips from this one, but it warms my heart every time I watch it.

I actually went and saw this in theaters when I was little. It's become our favorite movie to watch while stringing popcorn and cranberries for the tree.

Such a classic. The clip below has always been one of my favorite parts because of my love for Linus.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the darkest day

Happy Solstice everyone! How did you spend the darkest day of the year? I've been finishing up Christmas projects and drinking tea. Normally I don't enjoy how early it gets dark out, but there's something quite magical about the winter Solstice, I think. And to top things off, it's a full moon tonight! So I'm going to enjoy the darkness for today, and after this I'll revel in the fact that it's getting lighter again, bit by bit.

I took these pictures years ago when there was snow on the ground. They aren't from the Solstice, but I think the beautiful light suits today's spirit.

Monday, December 20, 2010

monday music: christmas countdown, week four

#010 snow*snow

Here we are, less than a week away from Christmas and it's time for my last holiday mix. It's a good one, if I do say so myself. But, of course, I would say that since I've saved all my personal favorites for last. It's certainly not a conventional group of Christmas songs. Only one cover among them (Death Cab does a really lovely rendition of Baby Please Come Home), the rest are all original tunes ranging from Sufjan Steven's wistful Sister Winter, to a touch of electronic from The Knife.

I hope these mixes have kept you entertained over the past few weeks, I've certainly had fun putting them together!

Listen to the mix HERE.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

wishlist: pretty

The wish lists I hand out to my family tend towards practical over pretty, but that doesn't mean I don't have my eye on more fanciful things. They may not make it onto my real list, but at least I can post them here.
I like this feather sweatshirt.

This top is sweet as can be.

I think this constellation scarf is neat.

These dresses from Anthropologie are the perfect blend of whimsy and sparkle.

I love this pretty headband.

Lately I've been drawn to geometric designs. Like this triangle necklace.

These ballet flats look sooo soft.

Monday, December 13, 2010

monday music: christmas countdown, week three

Here we are, already at December 13th. Can you believe how close we are to Christmas? Only one more mix to go after this.

This week's mix features a few of my more rockin' Christmas favorites, such as Viva Voce's take on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, and The Holiday Song from The Pixies. There's also a fun little instrumental from The Octopus Project that I quite enjoy. Hopefully you will too, as you go about hanging lights or wrapping up gifts. I'm woefully behind on both those things, but these songs make me look forward to all the holiday tasks I have to get done, instead of feeling frazzled.

Now if only it would snow...

Listen to the mix HERE.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

sunday pieces

I always have such high hopes for Sunday, but we often have so many things to do that the day ends before I have time to really enjoy it. But every now and then things line up just right. Today was equal parts lazy and productive. Sleeping in and a lovely breakfast with fresh eggs, followed by household projects that we've been wanting to get done for ages. It feels good to check some things off our to-do list.

It's raining outside instead of snowing like I want it to be, but drying paint and pretty clementines made today perfect.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

golden goodness

As I mentioned last week, I've been having a serious craving for pumpkin pancakes. So this morning I made some before the boy left for work. I used this recipe, but I had to get a little creative because we didn't have all the ingredients. Our pancakes lacked cloves and allspice, and I used buttermilk in place of heavy cream and milk with no ill effects. These pancakes were super soft and delicious with the most beautiful golden color. I'm already looking forward to using up the leftover batter tomorrow!

Monday, December 6, 2010

monday music: christmas countdown, week two

christmas lights pt. 01

It was bitter cold outside today, but flurries in the air kept me quite cheerful every time I looked out the window.

I've been listening to the songs in today's mix quite a bit lately, but that doesn't mean I'm any less excited to share them with you today. There's a few of my absolute favorites mixed in here, like Okkervil River's Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas, and The Dirtbombs' My Last Christmas. I like cheerful bells jingling and happy tunes, but some of the songs I love best are a bit (or a lot) melancholy. It reflects the season as it is, after all. Everything is felt more keenly around the holidays, sadness as well as joy, and I've always enjoyed songs that have a good helping of angst. And how can you not like a song with a title like Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)? So, with all that being said, I hope you enjoy this week's mix!

Listen HERE.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

sunday pieces

These are some of the things making me happy this weekend.

Sparkling lights being hung in the house.

A pretty new ornament for when we get our tree.

This teapot dish towel and wooden candle holders for tea lights.

Mmmm, beeswax.

Fresh bread from the Farmer's Market. It has roasted garlic in it... heaven.

And now it's time for a movie and some ginger tea. How was your weekend?

Friday, December 3, 2010

friday pondering

make tracks

December got off to a very rainy start, but today temperatures dropped and it's suddenly feeling quite like winter. I am planning holiday projects that must be kept under wraps, but here are a few things that are on my mind that I can share.

It's cold, but there's no sign of snow yet. I am looking at pictures like this, and this, and this to hold me over.

This scarf looks super cozy and warm.

I am reading (and loving) this book.

Lately, I've been seeing all sorts of recipes for pumpkin pancakes that make my mouth water.

I am loving the look of these DIY mason jar lights.

These hand warmers make me want to pick up my knitting needles.

I have one more day of work, but my mind is already drifting to Sunday, and our weekly Farmer's Market trip. I'm also hoping to maybe go find a Christmas tree. Happy weekend!

Monday, November 29, 2010

monday music: christmas countdown, week one

winter on glass
Thanksgiving being over means lots of things. There's suddenly a rush to buy things, people are seen driving about with trees on top of their cars, and lights and decorations appear overnight. For me it means I can finally listen to Christmas music. I have a self-imposed rule about holiday tunes, to prevent myself from playing my favorites all year round. Once Thanksgiving is over, that's when the carols come out.

I've known plenty of people who hate Christmas music, and I can't say I blame them, considering the sort of stuff you're likely to hear when you walk into a store around the holidays. But for me, music is a huge part of what makes this time of year special and magical. So until Christmas, my music Monday posts will be mixes of my favorite songs of the season. They may not be what you'd expect. I've got plenty of Windham Hill Christmas cds in my collection, yes, but for the past few years I've been leaning in a decidedly indie direction. When you do a bit of searching, you'll find that lots of bands and artists seem to have a soft spot for the holidays, or at the very least do a beautiful job of expressing their Christmas angst!

You can find this week's mix HERE.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the best smelling day of the year


I had a hard time leaving my mom's house earlier, the kitchen smelled so good. Like buttery crust, sweet apples, and spicy pumpkin pie. But I had my own baking to do, and now 18 sweet potato buttermilk rolls are puffing up all golden in the oven.

Where ever you are going tomorrow, whatever you may be eating, and whomever you may spend your day with, I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

scenes and a recipe

These are just a few scenes from what I've been doing the past few days. I'm having a bit of trouble adjusting to these November days, so I've been drinking large amounts of tea and trying to get some things finished for the holiday tables at work. I've also put up a garland in the shop. I made several and they are so festive and pretty that I think I'll have to make one for myself!

As you can see from the above pictures, I've been doing a bit of baking. I was struck with an urge to bake cranberry bread over the weekend, so I started searching for the perfect recipe. I wanted something not overly sweet and moist without being spongy. I was also hoping for a recipe that incorporated whole wheat flour to add a bit of density and a more complex flavor. Unfortunately I couldn't find a recipe that had all these things, so I did a bit of experimenting and came up with my own. I'm quite happy with how it came out.

Cranberry Bread (adapted from this recipe)

4 TBS melted butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
12 oz. cranberries
1 TBS turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (8-cup capacity), and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine butter, egg, milk, and OJ. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, and whisk to combine; fold in cranberries.

Pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle top with turbinado sugar, if desired. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let bread cool 30 minutes. Invert onto rack, then immediately turn right side up to cool completely.

Notes: The original recipe said to butter and flour the loaf pan, but I decided to use spray oil instead and it worked perfectly. I also didn't have the right sized pan, so I used an 8-by-4 inch pan instead. Because of this the cooking time was a bit longer, but it came out alright in the end. I would like to make this again and add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the top.

Monday, November 22, 2010

monday music: cut copy

I've already done a music post about Cut Copy, but seeing as I love them so much, I couldn't resist posting a link to their new single. You can listen to Take Me Over here. I'm looking forward to hearing what the rest of this album sounds like!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

all that is gold

There's a certain time of day...

when everything in our house turns golden.

I don't like how early it gets dark these days, but at least the sun's been putting on a good show before going down.