Last Saturday we stopped at a shop over in Sycamore because they said they were having a big bead trunk sale. (In the UK they're called boot sales because the trunk of the car is called a boot...) I'm not sure why, but I always end up being drawn to the green beads. This picture didn't turn out that great, but the small beads at the bottom are a beautiful grey. The ones at the top are a lovely light green. Now I'll have to decide what to do with them!


The Seven Dwarfs' Beds

We caught a few minutes of Snow White on TV the other day. It was the part when she's cleaning the dwarfs' cottage with all of the forest critters. It was unbelievably cute. We loved the rabbits carved on the beds and the squirrels sweeping dirt under the rug with their tails.


T-Shirt Pillows

Much of my sewing consists of straight(ish) lines. Last week I took a couple of old t-shirts and turned them into throw pillows for our chairs. They turned out kind of fun. The pink one is from the Boathouse in Forest Park (in St. Louis). The yellow one says, "I'm a Friend of Historic Rocheport, Missouri." That's the town where we used to live, so these will be fun to have around.


Friday Featured Art: The Light of the World

William Holman Hunt was one of the Pre-Raphaelite painters of the 1800s. He did a piece called The Light of the World, which hangs in the chapel at Keble College Oxford. It is rather dark and medieval looking, but I like the idea. Christ is standing at the door, knocking. The tall weeds show that the door to the soul has long been unopened. I think that the dawn and the stars in the background are very pretty. Holman Hunt painted this picture outside in natural light. We saw his third version of the painting in the Middlesex Chapel at St. Paul's Cathedral (the picture at the bottom is from their site).


Thursday Text: Little Women

The other day I caught part of Little Women on TV again. I'm not sure if this quote is in the book (I didn't look it up), but I like the moment when Jo is talking with the men in New York and one of them says that she should have been a lawyer. She says: "I should have been a great many things." I've really been feeling like that lately. I think I finally figured out what I would like to go to school in, but it's been nine years since I finished! I suppose that things work out in one way or another.


Floris Soap

While I was out of town last month, Tony went to his favorite men's shop Truefitt & Hill and bought a bar of Floris soap that cost $12. It was a large bar, but I was a little surprised at the price. So this weekend we tried it. It was amazing! The lather is so rich and creamy. It's pretty, too. And at the top, you can see the British royal coat of arms and the Prince of Wales feathers representing Floris's royal appointments. (In the background is a German shaving mug that I bought for Tony at White Horse.) I would definitely say that this soap is worth it. I'll have to try some of the women's fragrances now...


The Nature of Diamonds

The Field Museum in Chicago is currently hosting an exhibit on diamonds. If you go to their web site, you can get all of the information and see some fascinating pictures.


Fleur De Lis Glasses

When we visited Rocheport, I bought a couple of cute little fleur de lis juice glasses from Richard Saunders. They are clear, but you can get a variety of spring colors from Pottery Barn.


Friday Featured Art: Medieval Town on a River

For my floral arranging class, I've been working on a color project. One of the books that I checked out had a section with paintings that included rainbows. This one is Medieval Town on a River by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. I think it's pretty.


Thursday Text/Tunes: Appalachian Spring

Last week we attended the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The final piece of the night was Copland's suite from Appalachian Spring. It was a ballet piece that was later expanded to a full orchestra piece. It was still just as beautiful in its simple form. Here's how Copland described the ballet:

A pioneer celebration in spring around a newly built farmhouse in the Pennsylvania hills in the early part of the last [nineteenth] century. The bride-to-be and the young farmer-husband enact the emotions, joyful and apprehensive, their new domestic partnership invites. An older neighbor suggests now and then the rocky confidence of experience. A revivalist and his followers remind the new householders of the strange and terrible aspects of human fate. At te end the couple are left quiet and strong in their new house.


Wright Plus

When we were married in May of 2004, we honeymooned in Chicago. That seems strange now that we live an hour away, but at that time we were living in Utah - 1400 miles away. As part of our trip, we went on the Wright Plus housewalk in Oak Park. It was fascinating. You get to tour the inside of some of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed (and other) homes in the area. As you may remember, the Frank Thomas house is my favorite. It has not been open to the public in over 20 years. When I saw the ad for this year's housewalk, I thought I recognized the skylights in the entry of the photo... The Thomas house is going to be on the tour this year!! (I may have to save my money!)


Orchid Show

Last week we attended the annual orchid show at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It was stunning. I love how it is held during February and March and makes everything seem so springlike.


The Holiday

Sara and I were talking about The Holiday, and then I found it at Target for $7.50. I had forgotten how funny it was. Of course, Kate Winslet was delightful - they all were. It really is a good movie.


Friday Featured Art: Open Space

Another stunning new piece from Joe. Open Space is a beautiful early summer view of the West that I love.


Thursday Text: Sonnet LXXXIX

The text of one of the Nocturnes by Morten Lauridsen is from Pablo Neruda's Sonnet LXXXIX. It really moved me when I heard it.

When I die, I want your hands upon my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time:
I want to feel the gentleness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want your ears to still hear the wind,
I want you to smell the scent of the sea we both loved,
and to continue walking on the sand we walked on.

I want all that I love to keep on living,
and you whom I loved and sang above all things
to keep flowering into full bloom,

so that you can touch all that my love provides you,
so that my shadow may pass over your hair,
so that all may know the reason for my song.


Rubber Stamp Tapestry

For my birthday, Sara gave me this little squirrel stamp (and an acorn one). I love it - especially since my squirrel friend has been hanging out on my back porch again. The stamp is a peg and is from Rubber Stamp Tapestry. What a great find! I may have to order some more...


Modern Times Factory Stool

Did you know that the Sundance Catalog also has furniture and home furnishings? This stool could come in handy in a variety of areas - kitchen, office, craft room...


Droog Hare Mat

Wouldn't you love to have a rabbit as your doormat? This delightful mat can be found on a really great web site: dutchbydesign.com. Check it out.


Friday Featured Art: Chapel Blooms

Joe has some new artwork up on his web site, and it is fantastic. I especially like Chapel Blooms. Could spring really be on its way?


Thursday Text: D&C 42:45; Alma 28:12

My absence last week was due to the passing of my friend's husband. He was 31 and died suddenly. I flew home to Utah to attend the services and to spend some time with my friend Holly since I, too, was widowed at a young age (almost 8 years ago). I was so glad to be there with her.

One of the scriptures that was quoted at the funeral was D&C 42:45:

Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die...

I re-read that scripture and was led to another in Alma 28:12:

While many ... truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness.

These are beautiful thoughts in a sad time.


Gardener's Supply

My parents get the Gardener's Supply catalog. I was flipping through it the other day and saw that they have an online garden planner. We're trying to decide what to plant this year, so I tried it out. It is great! You can drag and drop whatever you want to plant onto a garden space, and it will tell you how much to plant per square foot. Then you can print your plans - including information about how and when to plant. Excellent.


Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes

I don't have a picture, but the cupcakes that I made for Valentine's Day turned out really good. Here's the recipe - from Martha.

42 Oreos (30 whole and 12 coarsely chopped)
2 pounds cream cheese (4 packages)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 275 F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-filled cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

I made half the recipe, and they were delicious!

Spring Sandals

We've been above 32 degrees for the past couple of days - it feels like spring! So when I was at Target yesterday, I picked up some of these sandals. They're on sale for $10 this week. What do you think?