Merry Christmas!

I hope that you're all enjoying a wonderful, merry Christmas! We've taken to watching It's a Wonderful Life together each year. It's a truly great story, and Jimmy Stewart is the ultimate. Enjoy your holiday, and I will, too. I'll be back to regular posting next year!


Thursday Tunes: If On A Winter's Night

One of my early Christmas presents this year was Sting's new album If On A Winter's Night. Have you heard it? There are some classical numbers and some classical Sting numbers. He sounds great, and the instrumental moments are inspiring. It has a perfect Christmas feeling.


Brooks Brothers

Do you like Brooks Brothers? I love their classic preppy-ness. I especially love their golden fleece logo. Good thing for me there's an outlet not too far from here!


Gingerbread Cookies

Last week I made gingerbread cookies for the neighbors. I love to use the recipe from the Scovil Bakery in Nauvoo. You can find the recipe below.

1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
3/4 cup oil or lard
1/2 cup hot water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
6-7 cups flour

Combine sugar, molasses, oil, and water. Add eggs. Mix dry ingredients together, and then add to wet ingredients. Refrigerate dough overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Bake for 10 minutes. These cookies freeze well and are softer and more flavorful after freezing.


Dumfries House

The other day I saw an episode of Antiques Roadshow UK that was filmed at Dumfries House in Scotland. The host spoke with Prince Charles whose Prince's Charities purchased the home and its contents in 2007. A notable feature is the original Chippendale furniture that was created for the home. Go to the image gallery on the web site. It's an amazing place.


Friday Featured Etsy Seller: Custom Vintage Monograms

Custom Vintage Monograms is the latest Etsy shop of Cathe Holden of Just Something I Made. These are really incredible. I love anything monogrammed, and the swirls of these vintage images are especially lovely.


Thursday Text: Washington Irving Quote

Did you read the Jaimee Rose article about NieNie? It was very inspiring. I especially loved the Washington Irving quote that was included as a favorite of NieNie's:

There is in every woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.


Sense and Sensibility

Since I finished reading Sense and Sensibility, I decided that I should watch the movie. I really liked it. Emma Thompson's adaptation was charming. And I loved Alan Rickman (Snape) as Colonel Brandon. It was delightful - and I did really love the book.


Home Cookin'

We were in Chicago on Saturday night for another concert at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was a nice evening - there were tons of people out, and the lights and trees made it seem very festive. We didn't have a lot to spend on dinner, so we went to our favorite hole-in-the-wall place for some home cookin'. I had country fried steak, which is always confusing because it's usually called chicken fried steak but is made of beef or pork... Sometimes home cookin' just tastes good.


Jewelry Storage

Since I've been making so many earrings and such, I have been keeping quite a few pairs for myself. I was keeping them in a dish, but they started to get dusty, and it was difficult to see which ones belonged together. I found this little jewelry dresser at Target. It has hooks for bracelets and earrings, but I used them to hang all of my dangly earrings. The posts went into the ring slots and there are pendants in one drawer and more earrings in the other. I thought it was a great (and reasonably priced) solution. How do you store your gems?


Friday Featured Art: Miniature Rooms

When we were in Chicago last week, we picked up the Miniature Rooms book at the Art Institute. It's a guide to the the Thorne Miniature Rooms collection. It's really great, but it's kind of hard to judge the scale from the photos in the book. You just have to see the real things!


Thursday Text: Gift from the Sea

I recently read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea. Have you read it? I "borrowed" it from my mom years ago and finally got around to it. I was very glad that I did. I loved the wisdom that it contains. And it went right along with the Relief Society lesson I was preparing on creativity and compassion (Pres. Uchtdorf's talk, Happiness, Your Heritage). Here's a quote:

I want first of all ... to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact - to borrow from the language of the saints - to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible. ... By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. ... I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.



Save me, Sabrina fair, you're the only one who can.

The other day, Sabrina was on TV. The 1995 version. I like the old version, too. It's just such a great story. And I love Harrison Ford as Linus. Which version do you like best?


Chicago Dogs

When we were in Chicago for the lecture at the Art Institute, we got Chicago dogs for dinner. They are delicious. The place that we went to is a little hole-in-the-wall place probably no more than 9 feet wide. But their dogs and their fries were so good. Here's what makes a Chicago dog:

an all-beef frankfurter
relish (I chop up fresh cucumbers)
chopped onions
a pickle spear or slice
tomato slices (I usually chop these up, too)
yellow mustard
celery salt
a poppyseed bun (hard to find, but they have them at Jewel around here)




Have you heard of FLO TV? A little portable TV - I think it's a great idea! The monthly fee isn't too bad for a handful of channels that you can take with you wherever you go.


Friday Featured Art: Fullerton Hall

Last night, we attended a lecture at the Art Institute. It was held in Fullerton Hall. The auditorium was beautiful. I wish they had a larger picture! There was really pretty carving along the walls and ceiling. The dome in the middle is Tiffany glass and looked rather like a turtle. The lecture was on the Arts and Crafts movement and the Cotswolds region of England to go along with the Apostles of Beauty exhibit. Very interesting.


Thursday Tunes: Saint-Saens

A week or so ago, we watched the movie, Babe. It is so cute. I loved when Farmer Hoggett sings and dances for Babe. The song that he sings is based on Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony No. 3. Lovely.


Anthropologie Knobs

The third thing that I loved at Anthropologie was their knobs - I always love their knobs. This one is a beautiful little saucer. There was a light green one that was really great, too.


Anthropologie Headbands

Another thing that I really loved at Anthropologie was their headbands. They were inspiring. I really loved the silver sparkly one. But, again, too expensive...