Merry Christmas!

Here's a picture of our cute little wreath to wish you a warm and wonderful holiday. My posting may be a little sporadic over the next week or two. I'll see what I can do in between relaxing and hanging out with Tony and drinking hot chocolate...

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


The Gift of the Magi

O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi is my absolute favorite Christmas story. I especially like the illustrations in this edition. What a great lesson to remember as we hustle around and stress out about Christmas shopping.

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.


White Horse Antiques

Another of my favorite places to shop here in Rocheport is White Horse Antiques. It's just up the street in a little 1840 historic home. (It looks much nicer in this picture than it does today when it's 1 degree outside!) They have fabulous antiques and new items and a little garden shop out back where I love to buy Pre de Provence soap. Sometimes when we're there, their big golden lab named Sam will come to visit. They also sell primitive rug hooking kits. I got one with a rabbit and stars - I just need to find the time to do it!


Friday Featured Etsy Seller: Soap Rehab

One thing I have not yet purchased from Etsy is soap. I may have to try a bar from Soap Rehab. Her natural bars are fairly priced and nicely shaped. This pumpkin bar sounds delicious - and I wonder what the frankincense and myrrh bar would smell like...


Thursday Tunes: St. Louis Cathedral Concerts

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is one of the most incredible places you will ever see. If you look at the picture below, the striped parts are marble walls. Everything above the stripes is made of mosaic tiles. No paint. There are millions of tiles making up the pictures that adorn the archways and domes of the cathedral. It took 70 years to finish the mosaic project. From October to June, the cathedral does a concert series. We've been two or three times, and it has been amazing each time. One of our favorites was the Westminster Abbey Choir of boys featuring a virtuoso organist. No wonder they call it "great music in a great space!"


Gingerbread House

The Christmas preparations are in full swing at Modern Country. Can you believe this gingerbread house that she made? It is so beautiful. Her blog is still mostly not in English, so it took me a minute to figure out that Jul=Yule=Christmas. (I'm going to be making gingerbread cookies using the recipe from the Scovil Bakery in Nauvoo.)


O, Christmas Tree

It's actually snowing here today! Just some flurries, but it is really starting to feel like Christmas. We don't have a tree this year because we'll be out-of-town and back-and-forth, and we don't want to have the fire hazard of a dry tree on a wood floor with questionable wiring at our house. So, I'm going to borrow Dani's tree. She posted this gorgeous picture over at some lovely mumbo jumbo, and I think it is perfectly merry and bright.


Manitou Studio

We are really close to having our Christmas shopping done, thanks to our next-door neighbor. He retired this year from teaching ceramics at a small college here in central Missouri. He has pieces in a couple of shops in the area, and he sells out of a little shed in his driveway called Manitou Studio. Lucky for us we can just walk next door and browse anytime he's open. Just another nice thing about living in Rocheport.


New from Joe

I thought I would check to see if Joe had any new works on his site, and - surprise! - he does. There is a handful of oil paintings, which are superb. Then there's this. It's called Tucked Away, and I would really like for it to be my Christmas present. It probably won't be, but I can sure hope that he'll make some prints out of it...

Friday Featured Etsy Seller: Joom

If you're looking for a great pillow, visit Joom's Etsy store. I love the bold designs and colors. If you want something festive, you could get this one with a cute, fat red cardinal.


Thursday Tunes: Better Than Ezra

This morning as Tony was making fun of a really good song, it gave me an idea for today's post. Actually, the song was Good by Better Than Ezra. One of my favorite time periods for music is 1995, when I was 16. All of the alternative stuff coming out then was so great. I'm sure that everyone remembers Better Than Ezra - "aha, it was good living with you..." Well, a couple of years ago I bought their greatest hits album, and I really enjoy it. If you listen to it, I bet you'll be surprised at how many of their songs you know.


Abbott Handerson Thayer

One of the artists that I discovered in high school and later as we went to the Smithsonian is Abbott Handerson Thayer. I really like his "ideal figures." Later when I went to the Art Institute of Chicago with Tony, we found this Winged Figure in one of the lower-level galleries. The painting is huge and the colors are fantastic. It's so beautiful and serene. I suppose this is what it's like to "sleep in heavenly peace."



My favorite movie has always been Dead Poets Society. But that's not what I want to talk about today. What I wanted to say is that I use the word interesting a lot. I know that I do it and that it loses its meaning, but I often can't think of anything as descriptive to say in its place. It makes me think of the scene in Dead Poets Society where they're in the cave and Pitts says, "Your parents collect pipes? Oh, that's really interesting." What does it all mean?



Friday was December 5, which is significant because it was St. Nicholas Eve - the day when the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas. Children receive gifts in their shoes that they have left out, and often the last gift of St. Nicholas Eve is a chocolate initial representing their name. I love this idea! (I love all things monogrammed...) At Dutch bakeries, you often find pastry letters, and, from the painting below, it appears that this tradition has lasted at least 400 years. I think I would really like the modern Droste version. (Indeed, I'll have to post more about Droste later!)


Friday Featured Etsy Seller: Papered Together

Today's featured Etsy shop is Papered Together - because I just can't resist letterpress. Krista Stout is wonderfully creative and sells high quality times. I bought these coasters when we moved to our 100-year-old house last year. This year I want one of her calendars for 2009. When the month is over you can tear off the top half and send it as a beautiful card to a friend (or keep it!). Visit her official web site here.


Thursday Tunes: Band of Horses

Do you ever watch the TV show Chuck? I have to confess that I do. It's got the spy element and the kind of geeky element and really good music. On one of the episodes last year there was a song called, "No One's Gonna Love You," and I loved it. It turns out that it is by an indie band called Band of Horses. I'm definitely going to have to listen to more of their tunes.


Maxfield Parrish

Every so often the library at the University will get a bunch of new books. They leave them on a shelf for a little while before putting them away. One day I came across a book about the illustrator Maxfield Parrish. It was so fascinating. I especially enjoyed his children's book illustrations and his fantastical landscapes. These two make me think of home (Utah).


Elder Wirthlin

I was sad to hear that Elder Wirthlin passed away last night. I was really touched by his last General Conference address.

Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?

There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.

The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.


As I was looking at the Martha stuff at Macy's last night, I started thinking of what it would be like to be able to spend hundreds of dollars on bedding. Then I started thinking that what most of us really want in life is to be comfortable. We want hot water for our showers and cold water when we're thirsty. We want a soft place to lie down at night. We don't want to be in pain or sick or nervous. We just want comfort! And then I started thinking about the use of the word comfort in the scriptures. It is so apt that the Holy Ghost is called the Comforter. What could be better or more appropriate for us as God's children? As Paul advised in 2 Corinthians 13:11

Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.


Peter Cetera and Utah Symphony

So I posted a while back about the 5th anniversary of our engagement. I mentioned that we went to see Peter Cetera perform with members of the Utah Symphony (after we got engaged and ate dinner). The CD from the concert is very hard to find, but somehow the DVD of the concert is available on Netflix. So we rented it and watched it over our Thanksgiving break. We were on the 8th or 9th row and kind of toward the middle, so we paused everytime they scanned the crowd to see if we could find ourselves. (We did - a number of times.) We looked much the same as we do now, but we could hardly fathom all that has happened in our lives since that time. The quality of the DVD was not the best, but the trip down memory lane was so fun!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! Thanksgiving is growing into one of our favorite holidays because it seems increasingly like it's the last one to be free of rampant commercialism. We really enjoy being at home together sharing our blessings of health, family, and a day off work! Since it's just the two of us, we're ordering our dinner - but I'm going to make this Chocolate Pumpkin Tart because I like my pumpkin pie with a twist. Have a wonderful day! I know I will.

{And I'm taking the weekend off, so I'll be back to posting on Monday.}


Desktop Wallpaper

Since I work on a computer all day, I'm always looking for fun pictures to set as my desktop background. Often I use a photo that I've taken or one of Joe's paintings. Sometimes I like a more graphic approach. Jessica Jones' blog is a great resource. Through her site I found Push Me Pull You Design -they often have wonderful seasonal images (like the turkeys below). Metremade is a good source for fun patterns. (Jessica even offers some of her own designs - if you like orange.) What's on your desktop?


Happy Everyday to You

Yesterday was our Primary program, and I had the privilege of kicking things off. As part of my introduction to the year's theme (I Am a Child of God), I read a poem by Dr. Seuss. I just want to say that I am glad that I'm not a clam!

Today you are you!
That is true-er than true!
There is no one alive
That is you-er than you!
Shout aloud "I am glad
to be what I am!"
Thank Goodness I'm not
a clam or a ham or
a dusty old jar of
gooseberry jam!
I am what I am!
What a great thing to be!
If I say so myself,
Happy Everyday to me!


Friday Featured Etsy Seller: All In Stitches

I'm not normally a scarf person, but when I woke up today it was 15 degrees. I decided I should look into it. The All In Stitches Etsy shop has some super scarf offerings - including this "scarflette." What a cute way to keep your neck warm! (And without the hassle of where to tuck the long ends of your scarf so that they don't get caught in the zipper of your coat.)


Thursday Tunes: Ryan Adams - part 2

I know I just posted about Ryan Adams two weeks ago, but I had to share more. This summer, Tony and I made our first-ever trip to New York City. It was a blast, and (needless to say) I had Ryan Adams' New York, New York stuck in my head the whole time. Today while I was looking for something else, I came across the video for this song. I've never seen it before. The opening indicates that it was shot on September 7, 2001. A large part of the video is from this angle under the Brooklyn Bridge looking back at the city. It's pretty incredible to think of what would happen just four days later. The song is great, and this video is great, and New York is great!

{I couldn't embed the video, but if you click on the capture above you can go watch it!}


Lotta Jansdotter

Scandinavian designer Lotta Jansdotter is such an inspiration to me. Her work is simple and clean and fun. I love this apron and the cute place cards below. Last year around Christmastime I got her book, Simple Sewing. I have to admit that I haven't made anything from it yet, but I have big plans!


Way to go, Joe!

My brother-in-law, Joe, is featured in the December issue of Watercolor Artist magazine. I got a copy in the mail from my mom yesterday, and it's very well done. His work is on the cover, and then there's a 9-page article with lots of pictures. Misty Trees, below, looks especially nice in print. Visit Joe's web site here for more inspiration.


I did it! But maybe I shouldn't have...

On Saturday I finally went to Macy's to check out their Martha stuff. I want one of everything from the kitchen section, please! For now, I got these cute prep bowls.


Friday Featured Etsy Seller: Black Sheep Beads

Today I am giving away a trade secret - Black Sheep Beads! Pam's Etsy shop is filled with all sorts of treasures. There are lovely vintage glass beads like these white ones and unique vintage plastic beads and findings and charms and flowers... I especially love all of the interesting bead caps like these antique brass petals. Black Sheep Beads is definitely one of my favorite suppliers for my shop.


Thursday Tunes: King Corn Soundtrack

Last year one of the makers of the documentary King Corn was in Columbia for a screening. I know that it's been shown on PBS, and it is very informative and well done. Corn is a huge part of America, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there. Watch it if you get a chance and pay attention to the music. I liked it so much that I bought a copy of the soundtrack at the screening. It's by the Wowz - they're kind of folk-rock and really fun.


Thorne Miniature Rooms

When our relationship began, I was living in Utah and Tony was attending Northern Illinois University. So our first official date took place when I visited Tony and we spent the entire day in Chicago. My favorite by far was the Art Institute of Chicago. One of Tony's favorite parts of the Art Institute is the Thorne Miniature Rooms collection downstairs. The rooms are set into the wall at eye level so that you can peek into them. They are fascinating, intricately-detailed rooms depicting European and American interiors from specific time periods (with a scale of one inch to one foot). Here's a Massachusetts parlor from 1818. Notice the tree that you can see through the window. Which is your favorite?



As you know from a previous post, I really like the pre-Raphaelites. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (who did the painting below) had a sister named Christina who was a poet. We studied her a bit in my British Literature class in college, and one poem stuck out to me. Don't look it up because you probably won't fully understand or like the poem, but the last stanza is worth noting. I have four sisters, so this is for them:

For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.



I know it's a little late for this, but I was just thinking how interesting it would be to see the fall foliage from places all over the country. I found this great web site with links to webcams. I often look at the Utah State University webcams to see what life is like at my alma mater these days. The picture below is from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They're obviously past their fall peak, but pretty nonetheless. I also happen to know (I'm not sure why) that there is a webcam pointing at Loch Ness so that you can search for Nessie. Check it out here.


Friday Featured Etsy Seller: Photo Glassworks

The featured Etsy shop today is Photo Glassworks by Tracy Antonik. She makes photo necklaces using glass and wire. What you'll see in her shop depends on the day, but I usually like the art nouveau designs and the tree scenes.


Thursday Tunes: Ryan Adams

I came to know Ryan Adams listening to the Starbucks channel on XM radio. I really like his mix of country, blues, alternative, whatever. I bought the album Gold and really love it. I was especially excited to discover that he had done the original version of "When the Stars Go Blue." This song caught our attention when we heard the lines "Dancin' in your wooden shoes/In a wedding gown," because I wore wooden shoes at our wedding! (You can see Tony carrying them as we walked down the hill for pictures.)


New in My Shop

I finally had a chance to post a couple of new items in my Etsy shop: Green & Gardenia. I was really excited about the new supplies that I recently purchased - these tulip beads were too cute to pass up!