Monday, December 31, 2012

a year in objects (mostly).

twelve little things that made up my year.

1. pigs in january.

2. linzer hearts in february.

3. tiled roofs in march.Múzeum mesta Bratislavy

4. surfboards in april.

5. strawberries in may.

6. forget-me-not plates in june.
forget-me-not plates

7. lobster rolls in july.

8. a wedding tent in august.

9. nectarines in september.
plums nectarines tarragon

10. a storm in october.

11. fire cider in november.
fire cider - filled top view

12. snowy ears in december.
snow donkeys

lots to be thankful for. lots to look forward to. happiest new year's eve to you, friends.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

a snow drive.

winter brambles
cobblestone house
mail box
wooden barn
snow donkeys
cobblestone house
snow horses
snow horse

cobblestone houseIt's not every day that you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a winter wonderland. Today James and I took a snowy drive through some of my favorite roads around his hometown. We found fuzzy-eared donkeys and woolly horses and cobblestone houses* tucked into a winter landscape to match their goldens and browns.

Aside from today's drive, it's been all tickling baby toes and identifying wintertime birds around here. And just to make sure we don't go too stir crazy, I'm waiting on a pair of snow boots** to take on at least one snowy hike before we head back to the big city. 

Until soon, chickadees.

*A little reading about the cobblestone houses of western New York, here.
** kiddie boots for adult feet!
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

tidings of comfort and joy.

I'm off celebrating Christmas and spending a delicious few days away from the computer. Hop over to instagram if you'd like to check in. In the meantime, happy wishes to everyone. Merry, merry.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. these orange peels.
simmering orange peels, etc.
{plus the cloves and cardamom and juniper berries simmering away}.

2. these postcards.
holiday postcard
{because i'm glad i decided to make them. now if only i had ordered enough. if you don't get one it's because i can't do math, not because i don't love you}.

3. this glue.
nori glue
{because it was acid free. which is what i needed. and i already had it}.

4. this white contact paper.
contact paper windowsill
{because we put a strip of white contact paper on our nasty, pitted, unpainted window sill. it's the most ridiculous fix, but it's also kind of amazing}.

5. these french lentils.
{because we're on a major lentil kick lately and french lentils are the prettiest. all grey and green and blue}.

other things:
these words.
my latest favorite twitter feed.
a pine tree dress!
speaking of pining.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

make-believe: a train going north

On Christmas Eve, James and I are boarding a train and heading northward. I am ridiculously excited. My excitement stems 110% from my expectations that the entire experience will be straight out of The Polar Express. I'm especially looking forward to my cup full of hot chocolate as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars. But just in case the train travel pales in comparison to my all-time favorite Christmas story, I will be satisfied with bringing along a project or two to work on, a good book, a snack or two, and something cozy to snuggle in. Is it too much to also wish for snow?

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

Invest in a throw blanket.

I've been sitting on this post for awhile (pun intended). Part of me felt just a little bit embarrassed to share what is, admittedly, one of the less-than-charming habits I've acquired since moving into this tiny space.

I'm obsessed with our couch and I leap to its defense, daily.

Obsessed is a word that gets thrown around a lot in blogging. I'm obsessed with these pajamas. I'm obsessed with this hair style. I'm obsessed with my belly button. You get it.

And still. I'm obsessed with our couch. Specifically, I'm obsessed with the cleanliness of our couch. In general I try to avoid partaking in any kind of homemaking ritual that involves extra fussiness, but this beaut didn't come with removable slip covers and its frequent use as staging area for crafts,  dinner, Christmas card-writing and present-wrapping means that I'm more than a little protective.  Even if it means a little extra step, I'd much rather put a throw blanket into the wash than struggle to remove mashed in chocolate crumbs or sloshed cups of tea. When we're not munching on the poor thing, I fold up the blanket and put it away. And in my defense, I do try to stop myself from tucking the blanket under our guests.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

wrapped up in words.

This year I'm wrapping all of my tiny presents in magazine pages. As you all know, I'm the picture of recycling perfection, so I never have back issues of The New Yorker floating around my tiny apartment...but on this one, rare, never-to-be-repeated occasion, I happened to have a November issue hanging about and so I tore it up and wrapped Christmas pressies.
I like using magazine pages to wrap gifts because the ink doesn't rub off the way it does on newsprint (hint: don't make like us and wrap all of your white dishes in newspaper when you move--we had to scrub everything)Magazine pages are also amazing because they give you the straightest edges. Nothing brings out the perfectionist in me like wrapping presents and magazine pages comply to folding better than any wrapping paper I've met. (Don't even get me started on kraft paper's reluctance to stay put).
If you're wrapping something besides tiny jewelry boxes, you can tape two magazine pages together to get a bigger sheet. Using pretty-colored washi tape means the seams become part of your avant garde design!

And! If you're a careful hunter, you might even find Christmassy-themed pages to incorporate into your design. No matter that the snowy little illo in the top image was meant to evoke life behind the iron curtain. I think even Louis Menand would be proud of this reuse.  (Okay. Maybe something a little lighter in subject would make a better pairing). Tied with a bow and bedecked with red berries, these guys are ready for their spot under the "tree."

PS. If you have a hankering to see more of our tiny apartment decorations, they're up over on Natalie's blog. (And if that doesn't lure you, the world's most adorable toddler-on-Santa's-lap photos just might).
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Monday, December 17, 2012

make your own beeswax candles

beeswax candle and boxwood
I know I talk a lot about needing a little extra light during these dark days, but I don't think it's a sentiment that can be too often repeated. Especially in the wake of Friday's tragedy, there is even more need to extend a comforting hand and offer a bit of light to a friend in need. This past weekend, I rolled beeswax candles to give as small gifts. Here, a few tips on making your own:
Making your own rolled beeswax candles is almost laughably easy. I used natural medium brood beeswax foundation (the stuff that can actually be used inside bee hives) and cotton wicking from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm to make my tapers. Brushy Mountain has loads of bee-keeping and candle-making supplies and they're my favorite spot for supplies. Truly, the honor is all mine to collaborate with them on this post.

Beeswax foundation comes in long sheets (8 1/2" by 16 3/4" long). Cut in half, each sheet yields two 8 1/4" tapers. When your sheets arrive in the mail, bring the box inside and let the wax warm up to room temperature before handling it.  You can use a knife to cut each sheet in half or do what I did and carefully fold each sheet in half to score it and fold again in the opposite direction to break it in two. If you're worried about tears, bring out a knife. Next, cut a length of cotton wicking to be just a bit longer than the length of your sheet.rolling beeswax tapers
The wax is slightly sticky, so you can press the wick into place along the edge and carefully begin to curl the edge of the wax around it (if you didn't use a knife, begin rolling on the side with the rough edge). The wax is very pliable, but to get a nice neat roll you'll want to work slowly at first. Once you've rolled the wax over the wick a few times, things gets easier and you can use the flats of your fingers to roll up the rest of the way. (Be prepared for a heavenly smell and super soft hands by the time you're finished).
rolling beeswax tapers
If you prefer a thicker candle, don't cut your sheet in half and just keep on rolling. Thicker still? Start the process again with a second sheet of wax. The best part about rolling your own candles is that you can make them any size you'd like: short and squat or long and lean. When you're finished rolling, gently press the edge of the wax sheet to the candle using your fingertips. Because the wax is sticky on its own, you don't need to mess with heat or blow dryers or anything else fancy. A few gently presses will work just fine.
beeswax candle and boxwood
Once you've finished rolling your candles, tie two together to make a sweet little gift. I wrapped mine in a small length of parchment paper and tied it up with grosgrain ribbon and a sprig of boxwood.
miniature boxwood wreath
If you're in the mood for for something a little extra special, you can use the same boxwood to make festive candlesticks for the table.
beeswax candle and boxwood
How-to: Take a long boxwood branch and bend it into a circle. I like to allow the smaller shoots to branch off in different directions. Use a small bit of wire to secure the top of the branch to the bottom stem and then place the miniature wreath at the base of your candle before putting it into your candlestick.
candles786beeswax candle and boxwood
As always, make sure not to leave your burning candles unattended. And isn't that the hope after all? Here's to many long meals shared at tables lit by candlelight. Wishing you and yours many of them.
Materials for this post were generously provided by Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.
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Friday, December 14, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. these bulbs.bulbs
{because in January, you will see flowers in this tiny apartment}.

2. this tea pot.
{because lately i've been making tiny potfuls, just for me}.

3. this hot water bottle.
hot water bottle
{because i had an achy back this week, and this helped}.

4. this bee box.
bee box
{because it arrived filled with goodies for a little project. stay tuned}.

5. this neighbor's wreath.
golden wreath
{because its just so golden. the door, too}.

other things:
best way to brighten dark days? lights.
just another trip to the library.
would you? a party trick from my friend, jenny.
admiring these posts lately.
all i ever want to wear.
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

holiday decorations for a tiny apartment.

tiny apartment pinecone swags
At long last, a few shots of wintry decorations in our tiny apartment. This year, instead of a tree, I opted for wintery greenery of a more miniature kind: tiny swags, fir clippings in glass bottles, and a tiny garland or two.
tiny apartment pine cone swags
I wrote a set of step-by-step instructions for these tiny pinecone swags over on Gardenista where I'm a new contributor. I'd be delighted if you popped by to say hello; there are heaps of holiday inspiration to be found over there.
tiny apartment swags
And here, posts from holidays past:
a wreath.
a scrappy garland.
rosemary holiday cards.
a christmas tree hunt.
wintertime additions.
christmas in connecticut.
a twig of a tree.
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