For every New Year’s Eve for the last 8 years, Tim and I have done the same thing: stayed home and cooked pepper-crusted filet mignon and indulged in a nice bottle of wine and a chocolate pear tart. This year we invited our friends Dan, Nancy and Oskar over and it was more than double the fun (after filet mignon, two toddlers and a marathon dance party, we’re all full and happy).
Happy New Year!! May your 2012 be full of prosperity and love.
PS We spent the day at the Bronx Zoo — I’d never been and had such a good day looking at so many majestic animals.
Tim and I took a little staycation this week. Thursday it was an early breakfast at Peels (with Sam, Dave and cutie Henry), dropped Alex off at home with our sitter, caught the new Sherlock Holmes — which was really funny and watchable — (we snuck in with sandwiches from Grand Daisy), dinner was Japanese takeout (it was so nice not to have to do dishes!). Friday we did breakfast at the bar at Balthazar, got back to back acupuncture treatments with Nancy and then had a post shopping late lunch at Lucky Strike in SoHo. At night we’ve been matching the British TV show Rosemary & Thyme, which is basically a show staring my mother and my godmother as gardening detectives. Delicious. I especially love the amazing English houses and gardens that are the real stars of the show. Then, last night we watched Soul Kitchen, which I really enjoyed (again, funny and watchable!). Both are available on Netflix streaming, if you do that.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all my wonderful and patient readers. We made our own cards this year; some with prints of Alex’s hand and foot and some just doddled with Martha Stewart Glitter Pens by me. I love that everyone is getting a different card.
I just got lost in the virtual house tour of the gallery/museum Kettle’s Yard.
This was my favorite detail:
One of the founding principles of Kettle’s Yard is the significance of natural objects as tokens of the Divine perceptible in everyday life. In 1958 Jim arranged these near-spherical pebbles in a spiral resembling a mandala, the Buddhist ritual figure that serves as an object of contemplation and representation of the universe.
Throughout his life Jim collected shells, pebbles, bones and other natural objects. This was no casual activity. As he wrote, ‘we find a perfect pebble once in a generation and once in a continent … Perfection in nature varies for each person – it is something created between the thing experienced and the person experiencing. Yet I know when I meet perfection immediately. I will discard 10,000 pebbles in my search for one whose outward shape exactly balances my idea of what a pebble is, and I do not believe that this discarding is arbitrary – we all know by some unwritten law what is a well-shaped egg.’
[click to continue…]
The Wall Street Journal “Off Duty” section is one of my favorite parts of the weekend — they’ve hired a incredibly talented group (at least a few ex-Domino folk). Sarah Karnasiewicz has an amazing article this weekend on springerle cookies, complete with recipes. I’ve picked up a couple of these cookie molds over the years, but have never actually made the cookies … until now! I bought the mold below from House On The Hill ($44) and can’t wait to get baking. I’ve heard these cookies can be hard to make, but, that just means lots of extras for us to eat here in the Design Scouting test kitchen.
I’ve been posting gift ideas as I come upon them for the last month. This one covers a lot of ground; from survival gear to the tech-y to the perfect gift for your mother-in-law. For whatever I lack in depth, I hope to make up for in breadth. You have my sister Tate to thank for this edition; she’s been at me for the last week to publish this.
1.While this may not be for everyone, this survival backpack full of survival supplies ($99) would make my Christmas, as I’m an erstwhile survivalist. To each their own. [click to continue…]
It is grey and overcast in NYC today. This glassy canal in France is making me think of long summer days and picnics on the grass. Found in this month’s Elle Decor.
These strange beasts are brightening up my grey Monday.
I just noticed that Etsy seller Clip and Pin is selling a sweet Advent Calendar. Or, if you want to go my paper bag route, she also sells the mini paper clips. PS are you on the Etsy mailing lists? I signed up a few months ago for the Daily Find email newsletter and they always full of great products and a nice way to navigate the Etsy universe. The sign up is in the My Account section, under emails.
I don’t know about you, but I feel hung over from the retail discouting onslaught of the past few days. It seems so desperate. We’ve been practicing living with less in the last six months and it has given me a new prespective on consuming, especially days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Barbara Kruger has always been a favorite of mine and I thought this Selfridges Campaign was particularly great. While acknowledging the irony of this next statement, I keep hoping one of these signs will pop up on Ebay.
I’ve been spread thin this past month and haven’t been doing as much reading as usual. However, here are two recent favorites.
NewYorker.com: Famous Names Fascinating look at how products get named (from the October 3rd issue).
Slate.com: The Death of Titles All about why movies have terrible titles like “Snakes on a Plane” or “Tower Heist”
These images of “shelfscapes” were taken by Ray Eames. I found these images on the Library of Congress website — as part of a great microsite (is that what they are still called?) on the Work of Charles and Ray Eames. Lots of great images, but, I found the most interesting bit was this:
Multi-screen slide shows were perhaps the Eameses most effective method for presenting everyday things in new ways and relationships. Encompassing an enormous breadth of subject matter, the slide shows were assembled for school courses and lectures as well as for corporate events. For these elaborate presentations, the Eameses drew upon their meticulously catalogued collection of approximately 350,000 slides: their very own “cabinet of curiosity.”
I translate this to mean Charles and Ray would have been great bloggers.
Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, The Work of Charles and Ray Eames, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-E21-P564-B]
We got our Christmas tree last night (!! I’ve never gotten a tree so early and I LOVE it !!). For those of you who don’t live in NYC, they sell trees on every other street corner. The same hippie guys come every year to our corner — they literally live on the street corner in a van for the entire six weeks before Christmas. They are so sweet and a dose of country in our chaotic city. I love this photo my sister took of the three of us. Ashely and Aron recently posted about how nice it is to have someone take a photo of your family — so true! My smile is so genuine it makes me realize how fake most of my smiles are in photographs.
We had a nice Thanksgiving in New York — we checked out the Parade and had an amazing Korean-American Thanksgiving in Brooklyn with our oldest New York friends. I still have a little glow from the warmth of their family and the delicious meal.
Our Thanksgiving plans changed at the last minute and instead of being in Boston with family we’re staying in NYC. This is our first Thanksgiving in New York in all the years we’ve lived here. It’s more peaceful than I would have thought.
I’ve been thinking about a Barbara Pym quote Stephanie sent me: “The small things of life were often so much bigger than the great things … the trivial pleasure like cooking, one’s home, little poems especially sad ones, solitary walks, funny things seen and overheard.”
So, today I’m thankful for all the small things in my life. I’ve been doing some letterpress printing at The Arm in Brooklyn. The quote “All is not yet lost” hangs on the wall as you enter and I find it so reassuring, especially in these troubled times we’re slogging through. Then, I stopped yesterday to take this photo of how beautiful the yellow ginko leaves are against the rainy dusk. Happy Thanksgiving!
I found this table setting yesterday in a November 1955 issue of House Beautiful — I was inspired by the simple use of leaves (magnolia?) and oranges. And, of course, the huge fruit and rooster arrangement is pretty awesome. I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving, complete with lots of pie, of course!