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!