The heart-warming and beautifully groundbreaking wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this past weekend seemed to lift everyone’s spirits. If you’re looking for even more inspiration and joy, here are a few of my favorite links from around the web this week…Read More
Well, this has been coming for some time now. I'm up to my eyeballs. Overwhelmed. As I get busier with some larger long-term projects and some outside work, I need someone to assist with the day-to-day running of my blog and shop.
If you don't mind working with a perpetual procrastinator, if you have a sense of humor, if you don't shy away from smoke bombs, please consider applying. This position will be 10-15 hours / week with some hours spent in my at-home studio and some hours spent working remotely.Read More
Over the holidays, we had a house full of people. Besides our own five grown children, we hosted five other individuals and a dog. It meant next to near constant shopping for food, cooking food, putting food away, and then starting over. Also, note to self: one can never have too many towels.
When it came to sleeping arrangements, everyone made do. Our sons' bedrooms are very little changed from their teen years. Our guests enjoyed graffitied walls, chrome hubcap collages, and polaroid picture displays.
It got me thinking about being an adult guest in a child's room. What follows are some interesting kid rooms that I rate as an adult occupant.Read More
I love the photo of Lynne, (above) and the way she gazes steadfastly at the camera. You really loved this photo of a woman by a lake wearing a photo of a lake. There's something mysterious about her eyes, don't you think? (Click here to read the post.)
We are all drawn to people with mystery. Did you know that you readers are a great mystery to me? Every Friday, after I publish a post, my husband and I spend the evening talking about the interesting things you write or the unexpected way you interact with my content. You never fail to surprise me. it is delightful, actually, to never know what to expect from you. It keeps me on my toes.Read More
That's me in the photograph. It's the day after Thanksgiving and I'm spending the morning in bed with a great book and a cup of Earl Grey. Heaven. I might look a little fuzzy and out of focus but you would too if you had just made three gallons of turkey gravy.
You can't see the title in the photo, but the book I'm reading is one I stole from my fourteen-year-old niece. She might be my new reading soulmate. We were on vacation, pontooning on Green Bay, and I recognized a fellow book nerd when she showed up with a dogeared paperback in hand. All afternoon, she tolerated me leaning over her shoulder until finally, she handed over the book. A generous gesture.Read More
Many years ago, we moved into a new neighborhood in suburban Chicago. As we were unloading the moving truck, a couple from down the street stopped in to welcome us.
After kindly extending a plate of freshly baked cookies, they got down to brass tacks. "Might I inquire which school the children will attend in the fall?" the gentleman asked. "Well, our realtor told us that this neighborhood's grade school is awesome," I replied. He cringed and leaned in. "You know," he whispered, "they teach trades in the public high school here. Perhaps a look at the Country Day School is in order."Read More
I've always struggled with deadlines. Procrastination and I go way back. I tried to dump Procrastination but he was like the Navy seaman Jon Something-or-other who had a thing for me in 1979 and kept popping up outside our kitchen window, scaring the bejeezus out of my poor mother, until 1984 when he showed up AWOL and got put in the brig and finally left me alone.Read More
I used to work in the adult fiction room at a suburban library -- the greatest job I ever held. It was better even than working as a counselor at a French camp where I received $200 a week for making moon eyes at a guy named Jean-Michel from Winnipeg. At the library, I brewed coffee, compiled reading lists, led a monthly book discussion, recommended titles to patrons, and never ceased to be amazed that every ten days, someone handed me a check for such "labor."Read More
I am troubled by the question of what to do with a few items I have which fall under the category 'black memorabilia'. All of these items depict black mammies, and from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, I love them. The colors -- black, white, & red -- are striking. The rag doll mother and child were stitched by hand. Same with the framed appliqué canvas. And I adore cookie jars in the shapes of people or animals. A black mammy seems like a nostalgic symbol of home and hospitality.Read More
I'm just back from a harrowing 10-hour road trip on a snowy highway. My husband and I took turns at the wheel but mostly he drove and mostly I shouted loud warnings about trucks! Ice! Wind! Snowplow! Winter storms bring out the inner panic monster, don't they?
At least the two young men in the back behaved. I remember the days when the boys were young, and we had to strategically place four car seats based on arm span and likelihood of child to use arms for swatting, slapping, or smacking a sibling. Back then, I threatened to throw my shoes at anyone who misbehaved. Given my lousy aim, and my preponderance to wear clogs, it was an effective technique. They still talk about the time they refused to return the shoe after I flung it at them.Read More
The best job I ever had was working in the fiction room of a library. Walnut shelving, Persian rugs, a sunken garden, leather chairs, hot coffee, and thousands of novels -- really, I should have paid them! In my time employed there, I heard readers recommend one particular book over and over again. I tried to snag it, but for two straight years, it was perpetually checked out.
When we moved to Wisconsin, a very kind neighbor welcomed me to her book group. At the end of my first meeting, the other members graciously invited me to select the next month's title. I knew this was a kind of test. But thanks to the library job, I didn't hesitate. With much conviction, I recommended that elusive novel.Read More
On Monday, the first draft of this listicle began as an inspirational ode to love. (For new readers, most every week I try to synthesize the best of the web into a themed listicle of links, accompanied by an object in my shop that relates.)
But my valentine is away. He travels frequently for work and I struggle to find an equilibrium when he is gone. Proof: it's Wednesday, this listicle is late, and it is certainly not an ode to love. It is a tribute to the flipside of love, which isn't hate. It's confusion, loneliness, frustration.Read More
One of my college kids called last week with the news that he just adopted a cat. He sent me a photo of the male cat, named Jennifer, playing in a box. Jennifer looks remarkably like these bookends and if you purchase them (here), you too can enjoy cats playing in boxes.
For those of you experiencing bad weather or cabin fever, this week's listicle is one of my best.Read More
This week, I'm reporting back from the field of Alt Summit in Utah where I attended a four-day conference for bloggers and creative business owners. On the first day, I sat front row during the keynote speeches of some really really smart women. Give an entrepreneur time to prepare, a clicker, and a microphone and you get insights worthy of Ted Talks.Read More
The object in the photo above is a bootjack, which one uses to remove one's riding boots if one hasn't a valet. It is available at Finder Not Keeper here.
Yes, yes, Downton Abbey is back for its final season. We are two episodes in and the show continues to employ the same old formulas that, by Jeeves, hooked us in Seasons 1-5. Julian Fellowes mixes equal parts gorgeous clothing, settings that show the glory of Merrie Old England, delicious put-downs from Granny/Dowager Countess/Violet and of course a healthy sprinkling of class struggle and snobbish frippery.Read More
How was your holiday? I saw the new Jennifer Lawrence film, "Joy", which is loosely based on the life of inventor/entrepreneur Joy Mangano. I went with some of my college kids who have been home for the past couple of weeks. It's so fun hanging out with them, but I basically had to shutter the shop. Thus, the premise of the movie about a beleaguered working mom felt very relevant personally. Maybe it does for you too.Read More
Back in the day, before camera phones and digital uploading made it easy to produce photo cards of happy family moments, people devised very creative ways to send holiday greetings through the mail.
There are a million ways to say 'Happy Holidays' with a card. The imagery and design of the card often conveyed something about the sender'sRead More
When my son was five, he asked for a Bubble Fairy Barbie. After years of buying Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and G.I. Joes, I couldn't wait to shop for this gift list item. As he opened the pink box, his older brothers teased him, and his growls back at them didn't make much difference. When the doll emerged, wrapped in organza wings with a drawstring cordRead More
It's Cyber Monday and I'd like to know who coined that hideous term. There's nothing wrong with internet shopping, but Cyber Monday sounds like an evil robotic cyborg named Monday who sucks cash out of your wallet and leaves you empty and staring in disbelief at the confirmation emails. In response, my Cyber Monday offering is handmade. Hand-painted. Stitched by hand. And it's on sale.Read More
'Tis the season to season! Family is arriving and I'm busy in the kitchen, whipping up delectables. My feet ache already so this post is short and easy. Just a few quick hints and kitchen shortcuts from me to you.
- This pepper is great in stuffing. I like the very subtle smoky flavor. I also sprinkle it in cheesy potatoes for the day after Thanksgiving. The jar is pricey but lasts a long time.
- Milwaukee Iron is delicious on any comfort food. It's a yummy way to jazz up plain ole frozen corn. The Spice House, here in Milwaukee, created it to commemorate the 95th anniversary of Harley-Davidson, also a Milwaukee original.
- In last week's gravy recipe, I referred to French salt. This is the kind I use. My grocery store carries it.
- If you have the oven space, this blasted broccoli is the best roasted vegetable recipe ever, I kid you not. I now make two trays because it gets gobbled up like popcorn. Here's the recipe from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The smaller you cut the stalks, the better. The drier the broccoli, the better. Also, the recipe states that you should use your oven's convection setting, if possible. They're right. I've tried it in a non-convection oven and it doesn't turn out nearly as crispy.
- I love cranberry chutney. This year, I'm serving it with cardamom whipped cream.
- If you don't want to roast an entire turkey, this recipe is super easy and yields a rich stock for gravy. I make it once a month all winter long. The next day, we have Monica's turkey sandwiches with the moist-maker middle.
Have a wonderful holiday!
P.S. The salt and pepper shakers are new in the shop. They remind me so much of my parents. My mom is peppier than a Milwaukee Bucks cheerleader and my mustachioed father is salty in that interesting, unexpected way that all immigrants share when they verbally go to town in a non-native language. Photo by Renn Kuhnen.