Rob and I were back to Boston this weekend. We spent a rainy and cold (49 degrees, yikes!) day having the just the best time walking around the city, supporting the runners finishing the race, celebrating our birthdays and trying (more on that in a bit) to see some of the "To Boston With Love" flags installed at the Museum of Fine Arts. We started with lunch at Jasper White's Summer Shack for lunch... I had crab legs and they were amazing. Rob had a creole dish that I didn't pay much attention to because I was elbow deep in delicious crab. He did say that he loved his as well. We also shared some strawberry shortcake and lots of laughs over lunch.
We then walked to Boylston Street to see the amazingly moving tributes to the victims of the marathon bombings. That day, runners had finished the race for those who couldn't despite the rain and chill. The memorial as well as the runners are such a testament to the spirit of the city and the strength of community. It was so powerful to see not only the sneakers left behind, but also the small messages and poems left from people around the world. It's so difficult to be at that spot and imagine what occurred there just a few short weeks ago. But the words of comfort, the tokens and momentos that fill that space (even small pieces of chimes which fill the air with the sweetest notes) make those spots a fitting tribute to the resilience of the spirit of all who were touched by that day. It is so moving and truly indescribable. If you have a chance to be near the city, do go.
We walked next up to the Museum of Fine Arts hoping to experience the flag installation. The line was around the block as it was free admission into the museum and many had come to see what I've heard is an absolutely powerful and beautiful show of support and love. There are some lovely photos of the flags here, if you haven't seen them. After waiting in line for a while, it was clear to us that we really wouldn't be able to make it into the museum, really take in the exhibit and make it home to attend to our sweet girl, so we reluctantly left with plans to return in the coming days. I can't wait.
On our way back to the T Station, we walked through The Public Garden. Tens of thousands of flags representing every fallen service person from Massachusetts from the Civil War to today were placed (by volunteers and members of the military) in the park. The flags and the sacrifice that each represents are completely overwhelming and so very beautiful.
This truly was such an emotional trip into our favorite city. It was so truly special and lovely taking time to head back to Boston a city we have oh so much love for. I hope your Memorial Day was special and spent with those you love!
Looking back and looking ahead today. I don't usually make (or keep!) resolutions, yet something about this year we've had has me looking forward with the desire to live more purposefully and certainly in a more balanced way. So it is with the idea and promise of a fresh start that comes with this day, but more importantly comes with the opportunity of each day, that I begin this new year with some wishes...
* photographing - I want to get back into the swing of a picture a day. I've been so inspired this year by Erin's and Beth's photo journaling. Follow their amazing images on Flickr, I just love what they capture each day and am going to make it past March this year with my own :) Along with that, this will be the year we buy a DSLR. I need to investigate which will work best for our needs.
* cleaning - kind of a bummer, but our routine here is incredibly disorganized. A schedule is really needed! I found the one we will use on Pinterest, but this one is similar. I love the idea of focusing on each day and having one major task that gets done each day. It feels manageable for me (I'm typically mentally exhausted after my day and the thought of cleaning when I get home makes me want to weep) and allows us to know when one or the other has done something in the house. Rob works from home and sometimes cleans while he's thinking something through for work... I know, I'm totally spoiled.
* sewing - I need to be better about finishing works in progress. It's bad. My sewing time is so limited that I sometimes lose steam with a project I can't finish in a few sittings. My goal this year is to finish the works I've had in progress for a while... wish me luck!
* travel - I used to travel quite a bit, but for the last few years that really hasn't been something I've made a priority. It needs to be. I am a girl who wanders and it needs to be more a part of what I do.
* hikes - Rob and I used to spend more time outside, and I want to do more of that this year. Working on the house, graduate programs, and our individual projects sometimes makes time really fleeting and our hikes/adventuring has suffered. I'm looking forward to finding some new places to explore.
* cooking and baking - Rob is really the foodie here in our home, and I love that he is able to be so creative with food, spoiled, spoiled we are... I'd like to try more recipes and cook more than I do. It is certainly on my radar this year.
* blogging - I love the time that I am able to spend in this space, and allowing that time for myself needs to be more of a priority in this coming year.
These are just a few of the wishes I have for this year... are you making any? Before I sign off for the last time this year, I just want to thank each and every one of you for stopping by this space. I truly appreciate you being a part of this. Happy New Year everyone, see you in 2013!
A belated happy holidays everyone! We had the most blissfully calm, relaxing and peaceful holiday this year, it was so needed after the emotions of the previous weeks. Words sort of failed me in many ways after the tragedy at Sandy Hook... except with my students, and thank goodness for that. Here in Connecticut, where really nothing felt normal or right in the days leading up to this particular holiday season, we were blessed with a bit of snow on Christmas morning. Though our thoughts were often elsewhere, we were all the more grateful for this season of togetherness. I had no idea that a break was so needed until it was here, I've loved every minute of it. Here are some scenes from our days...
(Rob's Chocolate Raspberry Torte... words cannot express how I loved this cake!)
We found ourselves loving left over chocolate-raspberry torte by tree-light, watching much loved favorites in pjs in the days following our holiday. It was perfection. Santa brought me an AccuQuilt fabric cutter and some amazing dyes... goodness does he have good taste! I'm anxious to dive in to new projects but am going to try to be better about finishing projects this year. A good friend knew just what was me and found that lovely Jane Austen print from My Ideal Bookshelf. We were also given tickets to see The Blue Man Group in Boston in a few weeks by Rob's Mom and her husband Chip. My parents gifted us with a super fancy toaster oven we've had our eye on forever. Such thoughtful and wonderful gifts.
Bits of organizing here and there have happened, the loft has seen some changes, more on that to come. Another storm blew by leaving us with much more snow than anticipated and another excuse to pad around the house enjoying these most lazy days. I hope you've found time to do the same!
I'm having a bit of trouble adjusting to the calendar... it says December, mid December at that, but my mind really does insist that Thanksgiving was just last week. Actually, the calendar in my loft does say November... sigh! Somehow this most lovely time of year has snuck up on me, and yet there have been little bits of merry. We picked out our tree on a lovely 50 degree (though foggy) day. A treat as we usually are picking a tree in what feels like 50 degrees below zero. The stockings have been hung, presents are being made and planned and hidden. Each year I feel like we do less and less with our decorations, and that's really just the way we like it. Simple, sweet, spur of the moment, that has been our merry making so far.The tree was decorated after dinner one evening. We sat and watched it long after we probably should have gone to bed. I purchased the most beautiful velvet ribbon at Anthropologie on a whim, before I really knew how I might use it. I have big plans for that beautiful coral ribbon, when I get around to it. These wreaths actually. "Easy Christmas Wreaths"... yes, please. That feels just about right this year. I'm also planning some of these as gifts... pretty, simple, useful (hopefully). Again, just right. After a few break neck paced weeks at school, some uncomfortable and difficult moments, I'm looking forward to this weekend. Savoring the preparations, the merry making, the coming restful days that are so much a part of this holiday. A much needed break as it turns out. I find myself counting down the days, much like we all are, children and adults alike. I might pull out the advent calendar...possibly, if the spirit moves me. I hope this day finds you looking ahead while enjoying the moment. Happy Wednesday to you and yours!
I spent time this evening in one of my very favorite places of all... helping to primp it for the holidays! This evening just pulled me right into the spirit I tell you, and it was a joyous time with good friends. Anthropologie has holiday workshops all around the country each year. Friends and crafty folks who want to help out are welcomed to spend the evening hot gluing the most lovely little decorations and prepping the store for the holidays. It was so, so much fun. Lots of creative folk, many soon-to-be mommas and some amazing (that's bacon on that cupcake y'all) treats. Before we headed to Anthropologie to get our craft on, I had the most amazing caramel-appletini with sugar and cinnamon rim... gold dust, really. It tasted like apple pie. I loved it. I'm thinking this lovely little tradition might just be a new holiday tradition. Happy November everyone! Maybe I'll have my blog banner situated for Spring!
The very second that I mentioned that I was not interested in making things this holiday, my mind began to turn and inspiration hit... kind of hard... that's just how it goes sometimes. I found myself drooling over Anthropologie's Mason Jar Snow globes after a trip in to see what was new (I should never go in there... ever... I really can't be trusted) but had a little sticker shock when I saw they were $30 (now on sale for $7.00 go figure!). I then began prowling the internet for tutorials and found many... my favorite though is here. So I had to make them for this year's favor... here's what I did...
I used mason jars we had around from our jelly making and canning adventures, found some sweet figurines (one special to each guest) in themed tubes at Joann's, ordered small sisal trees online (big mistake... more on that in a second), used snow-village glitter/snow, and found distilled water and glycerin at CVS (did you know that CVS employs a personal shopper to help you find things during the holiday season? They do. She was a savior!). A few notes, I probably wouldn't use mason jars again... the band made it impossible to see the figurines once they were glued to the bottom of the lid. Martha used baby food jars which made much more sense... that's why she's Martha and I am a High School English teacher. Next time.
Rob cut out these pieces of wood from left over trim we had to make everything higher and more visible in the snow globe. I used epoxy glue (keep the windows open when using that stuff!) to glue everything down. I would next time use sand paper to get a bit more traction with the lid.
... Rob got a husky (they're big around here you see)
* use baby food or pasta sauce jars for a better result (you won't need the wood inserts!)
* sand paper will scruff up the bottom allowing a better seal between the lid and anything glued
* notice I've masked the final products in dark light... well, my (very, very inexpensive) trees lost their color making everything a little green... everyone was sweet and said they loved them anyway... I would test the sisal trees first, maybe pretreating them in some water prior to gluing them on... Chip's had one tree and therefore much less green everywhere
* After gluing down things to the lid, I allowed the glue to set for 24 hours. This didn't keep Rob's from coming unglued which was a bummer but I learned a great deal from his green mouthed husky globe. Next, I filled the jars with distilled water and two or three drops of glycerin (this is to keep the snow from falling too quickly).
* I added just a few teaspoons of snow to the water/glycerin mixture but I really love the way glitter looks in them and will get some next time instead of the snow.
* screwing on the lids was a little messy... I added a little water and experimented with the snow globes after the first one... less water is better and makes for a better seal.
I really loved how this little favor was easy to make and personalized for each of our guests. They loved them and were fun to play with during dinner! I would never discourage anyone from making these, they were super easy and hopefully my little surprises (tree discoloring, glue un-gluing) are helpful in someone else's process. I've added the snow globes to the How To section at the banner for easy viewing and referencing... and no, your eyes don't deceive you, they're a little green (or blue...the husky is looking a little blue these days), and I love them, flaws and all.
I'm days away from dropping loads of money on classes for next semester and we're now days away from Christmas... stresser? A little. We try really hard to pair down the holidays and do small things for each other here in our home, though Rob's "something little" last year was my iPad... I'm spoiled. I've also given up on trying to hand make a little something for everyone, I did that a few years ago and found myself not necessarily enjoying the moments of the holiday but trying to spend every waking moment finishing too many projects. Actually I was scary... and then Rob got shingles... so this year, I'm just going with things I really love for the people I really love in my life... small things, useful things and hopefully, thoughtful things. There is no end to the window shopping though! I find myself falling in love with "sure that's useful" things on a daily basis... luckily in a few short weeks, I'll be preoccupied with school... who am I kidding, I'll still be pinning, favoriting and sharing them with you. Here are some lovelies found lately... add them to your list for Santa...
Rob is off to Denver for work this week and weekend, so I'll be adding to my list for Santa... via Pinterest, Amazon and Etsy respectively. The plan is also to get the Christmas tree this weekend (Saturday is looking like a balmy 44 degrees... which is about 40 degrees warmer than it was last year when we got the tree) and deck the halls... I've got some great little details up my sleeve this year. Can't wait to share. Happy Tuesday, what are you spying online?
Christmas seems like a bit of blur... despite my intention to make December as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, I found myself in the final leg of the holiday spirit with a quilt to baste, quilt and bind, a reversible bag (Amy Butler's Reversible Sunday Sling) to make and a loft that looked like it had recently been ransacked by someone looking for who knows what. We're easing back into life, Rob is back at work, I've begun to un-ransack and retool the loft and there's been a great deal of iPad love (my gift from Rob) in this house. Life is very good indeed. So here's a bit of what our hall decking-festivities looked like this year...
... And that is the view I've had for the past few days... reading The Help on my iPad, buying fabric on my iPad, adding to Etsy favorites on my iPad, it is very simply a loved and treasured addition to our life here from my loved and treasured partner in crime. Do you have one?
So our holidays were really and truly lovely... Rob treated us to (an iPad, did I mention?!) an absolutely delicious Christmas dinner of prime rib, crispy potatoes and black forest cake... so wonderful. We traveled little, laughed a great deal and one of us enjoyed the time off of work (to play with the iPad) the best. We experienced a lovely snowfall, a little Jack Russell bristling in the form of a street brawl with a beagle named Ivan, a new-new gadget in the form of a Smart Phone for Rob, and the start of new projects in the loft. I love these days. We're looking forward to a very quiet and equally lovely New Year's Eve... we're thinking Pad Thai, some spring rolls a table for two right here where we love to be most. Wishing you much joy and relaxation in the coming days. Happy continued holiday to you and yours.
How I wish I was at the wrapping gifts stage of gift-giving, instead, I'm waiting for some fabric to arrive to finish the backing of a quilt and have a pattern for a bag calling my name from the loft. I love the idea of handmade gifts, but the execution of my gifts needs a bit of a rethink over the summer... a bit of joy is taken out of the season when the last-minute panic ensues, but I'm trying (and succeeding, I think, ask Rob) to keep it to a minimum and enjoy the gift making this year.
Of course not being in the gift wrapping stage (yet...) all I can think about is how wonderful it would be to go crazy with some Japanese masking tape. I'm seeing it everywhere lately and loving it.