Christmas Necklace

Don't tell my mom, but this is one of her Christmas gifts.  I made it using some marble beads that one of my husband's colleagues brought back from their trip to Turkey a couple of years ago.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and an optimistic 2014!  I'm going to enjoy my Christmas break and be thinking of what direction I want to take things in the new year.  I think it may be time to change things up a bit!  Stay tuned...


Friday Featured Art: Winter Feed

Here's a nice northern Utah winter scene by my brother-in-law, Joseph Alleman.  It's a new piece called Winter Feed, and I thought it was perfect for a cold day like today.


Zazzle Kindle Fire Skins

Zazzle has a great collection of Kindle Fire skins, like these butterflies and this Van Gogh painting.  I really like the fine art ones - I'm just wondering if it would get banged up with use...


Friday Featured Art: Neapolitan Creche

The Art Institute recently acquired a fabulous mid-18th-century creche from Naples.  They're promoting it as the Art Institute's Christmas gift to the city.  I really hope that we'll get downtown to see it before the holidays are over!


Thursday Text: French Women Don't Get Fat

I recently read the book, French Women Don't Get Fat, by Mireille Giuliano, and it was tres interessant!  The advice it contains is about learning to eat for pleasure.  Enjoy what you eat - just make better decisions!  And drink A LOT more water.  And be more active - but that doesn't mean going to the gym...  This is a lifestyle I can get behind.  And the book gave me a chance to practice some French!


The Ultimate Paris

Did you know that Pinterest now has a map feature?  Fodor's put together an Ultimate Paris page with a map and corresponding sights to see.  What a great idea!


Scovil Bakery Gingerbread Cookies

It's that time of year again!  I'm getting ready to make some gingerbread cookies using the recipe from Scovil Bakery in Nauvoo.  Visit this post from 2009 for the recipe.


Mrs. Meyer's Surface Scrub

Have you tried Mrs. Meyer's Surface Scrub?  I've got terrible water at my house, and the tub was getting a little grimy.  I bought some Mrs. Meyer's in lavender (my favorite scent!), and used some elbow grease.  It's fantastic!


Thursday Tunes: Jim Cornelison

Jim Cornelison sang the national anthem a couple of weeks ago at the NIU football game.  He usually sings for the Blackhawks games, and it's one of the greatest renditions ever.  Someone filmed the performance, so you can see it, too!


Pumpkin Whole Wheat Waffles

I found a delicious recipe for pumpkin whole wheat waffles.  It was posted on The Spiffy Cookie by Lauren's Latest.  I've made them a couple of times - if you use the whole can of pumpkin, you can make tons of waffles to freeze.  So yummy.  (This photo is from the original post - go to the link above for the recipe.)


Project Life

Sorry I missed posting last week... my husband had a kidney stone that landed him in the hospital, and then we spent the Thanksgiving weekend recovering (much better now!).  I hope you had a nice holiday!

Have you heard about Project Life?  I discovered it when I was at Archiver's with my friend.  It's a scrapbook system designed by Becky Higgins.  I bought a mini kit from the Dear Lizzy line.  It includes 100 adorable little cards.  Fabulous!


Cosmo Cricket Show Toppers

On Friday I went with my friend to Archiver's.  We were there for quite a long time looking at everything...  One thing that was new to me that I thought was very cute was the Cosmo Cricket Show Toppers line.  Fancy jar lids!  These are such a great idea for gifting.


Friday Featured Art: Michelle Howard

One day as I was wandering around Pinterest I discovered the artwork of my cousin's wife.  Michelle Howard is a talented artist who works mainly in oil and paints lovely landscapes and such.  I especially like the water-related pieces.  Check out her work here.


Thursday Text: Your Happily Ever After

Last night was our Young Women in Excellence event.  We used President Uchtdorf's talk, Your Happily Ever After, as the theme for the evening.  Here is a quote:

Isn’t it remarkable to know that our eternal Heavenly Father knows you, hears you, watches over you, and loves you with an infinite love? In fact, His love for you is so great that He has granted you this earthly life as a precious gift of “once upon a time,” complete with your own true story of adventure, trial, and opportunities for greatness, nobility, courage, and love. And, most glorious of all, He offers you a gift beyond price and comprehension. Heavenly Father offers to you the greatest gift of all—eternal life—and the opportunity and infinite blessing of your own “happily ever after.”


Festive Fabric Garland

Here's another fun project from an old Country LivingHome made simple provides the step-by-step to make this cute fabric garland.


Shrinky Dinks Jewelry

I've been going through some clippings from old issues of Country Living, and I've found some fun projects!  Cathe Holden did a great Shrinky Dinks jewelry tutorial for the magazine in March 2011.  This could be a fun project for Young Women's...


Thursday Text: from Ulysses

I was reminded again recently of how much I love Tennyson.  Here's a bit from Ulysses that you might be familiar with:

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. 


Arrangement of the Month

I love looking at the Arrangement of the Month archive on One Kings Lane.  Here is a beautiful November arrangement.


To Love Many Things

I stumbled across a fantastic blog called To Love Many Things.  Aleyma posts discoveries from museum databases like this beautiful necklace from the Cleveland Museum of Art.  What a great idea!


Friday Featured Art: Laurent Chehere

I noticed some interesting artwork in Time magazine the other day.  Laurent Chehere creates fantastical photos of flying houses.  I found his work quite fascinating.


Thursday Text: C.S. Lewis Quote

Today I wanted to share a fabulous quote by C.S. Lewis that I found on Pinterest.  We recently set up a Pinterest account for our Young Women (here), and I've added a Pin it button to my posts so that we can all share great ideas!


Paddywax Library Candle

Another discovery from our weekend in Louisville was the Paddywax candle company.  They have a Library collection that pairs quotes from famous authors with unique fragrances.  This Jane Austen travel candle is scented with gardenia, tuberose, and jasmine.  Leo Tolstoy's scent is black plum, persimmon, and oakmoss.  Lovely.


Friday Featured Etsy Seller: Mount Royal Mint

Did you see this Etsy shop when it was featured on the front page?  Mount Royal Mint sells adorable little animals like this baby mammoth and this ursa major spirit bear and a few other things, all made by Sabina in Montreal.


Thursday Tunes: Ohio State Marching Band

I'm no normally one to post "viral" videos, but this one is just too incredible.  (You've probably already seen it, and this last week they did an equally amazing show.)  The Ohio State marching band moonwalks (around 4:30), and the Thriller part is very Halloween appropriate. 


One Canoe Two

While we were in Louisville I discovered an amazing letterpress company from mid-Missouri!  One Canoe Two offers fabulous prints, cards, and home goods.  Check out these beautiful tea towels.  The Kentucky print is the one that I saw in Louisville, of course - so cute.


Time Magazine Mood Map

The latest issue of Time has a map of the states that shows how mood varies across the country.  You can take their quiz to see which state fits your personality.  This made me laugh (see below).  In the interest of full disclosure I will say that I took the quiz twice - not to get a specific result but to be more decided in my answers.  Apparently my true personality corresponds with where I was raised!


Rebecca Ray

We were in Louisville, Kentucky, this weekend because my husband had a conference at The Brown Hotel.  Their gift shop had some fabulous handbags and accessories by Rebecca Ray.  Their designs are decidedly equestrian (and classy!).  The hotel also had pictures of horses throughout the hallways and guest rooms.  I really enjoyed the atmosphere.


Thursday Tunes: Phoenix

Do you like the band Phoenix?  I love them.  And they're French!  Check them out on Austin City Limits here.


Dusty Miller

I saw some dusty miller at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and I was fascinated by it.  The silver of the leaves is so beautiful and the yellow flowers add a nice pop of color.  I'll have to find out if it would grow in my area...

{Photo from Google.}


Pattern + Source

A couple of weeks ago my jewelry class sat in on a presentation by a guest artist.  Debra Kayes is a teacher at Columbia College Chicago and the woman behind Pattern + Source.  She was very interesting, and I enjoyed viewing some of her work.  Pattern + Source archives patterns and their history, including Orla Kiely, traditional Islamic geometric design, and Marimekko.  Check it out.


Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts are an interesting snack from North Carolina and thereabouts.  My husband likes them, and we found some raw peanuts - and the recipe was in Country Living - so I made some.  They turned out great!  They're soft and salty and interesting.

1 lb. raw peanuts
1/3 cup salt
Enough water to cover peanuts by two inches.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low; simmer 4 hours.

{I borrowed this picture from Google.}


Friday Featured Art: Lewiston Farmhouse

I am endlessly inspired by Joe's work.  Every time I check his web site for new paintings there is something fantastic.  I like all of his new pieces (of course), including Lewiston Farmhouse.


Thursday Text: Austenland

A serendipitous happening during our weekend in St. Louis was discovering that Austenland was playing at the Plaza Frontenac theater.  So I attended the film while my husband went to the new Robert Reich documentary - that was a great arrangement!  Now I'm thinking that I need to read the book.  Have you read it?  The movie was so silly and cute.  I love Keri Russell and JJ Feild.



Also while we were in St. Louis we attended the new IMAX movie, Jerusalem.  It is showing at the St. Louis Science Center and a few other places around the county.  The film is presented by National Geographic, so the cinematography is gorgeous.  It explores some of the holiest sites in Jerusalem and their relation to the three major religions that exist there.  This is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and below is the Dome of the Rock.  Very fascinating.


Wilhelmina Peppermints

When we were in St. Louis recently we visited Global Foods Market, and I got some Wilhelmina Peppermints from the Dutch aisle.  They are so delicious and slightly soft.  Yum!


Indian Fabric

When my husband visited India this summer he brought me back some beautiful fabric.  I was really impressed with what he picked out.  Now I just have to decide what to make with it!  The top picture is two pieces of silk brocade and the bottom is a very unique piece of embroidered fabric.  The sheen on the silk is so pretty, and I really love the colorful embroidery.  He got me one meter of each - now what to make?



Friday Featured Art: Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles

My husband and I were remembering this exhibit the other day but could not remember where we had seen it.  Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles by John Vanderlyn is a set of 19th century oil paintings on display at the Met.  It's so interesting to stand in the middle.


Thursday Tunes: Peter and the Wolf

I can't believe I haven't posted about this before!  I loved Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf as a child, and the new (2006) academy-award-winning animated short version is outstanding.  Have you seen it?  It's very cleverly done, and Peter's gigantic blue eyes remind me of my nephews.