December 31, 2013
December 29, 2013
December 17, 2013
Above: scenes from Christmas 2011. My favorite posts from that trip are here, here, and here.
Soon after creating The Christmas Box for us, my parents gave Micah and I an equally generous gift: they offered to fly us up to Michigan for Christmas, so my entire family could be together at the cabin. It was, of course, an offer we couldn't refuse. I can't wait to see northern Michigan in the winter again! It's been snowing up there almost every day for the last week or two. I want to go snowmobiling, enjoy lots of sauna time (and maybe jump in the snow after?), catch up with my brothers, drink whatever seasonal goodness Soo Brewing has on tap, and chill out in front of crackling fires as much as possible.
We'll be flying up this weekend, and capturing everything on Instagram (his / hers), if you'd like to follow along. Next week, I'll be sharing even more of our adventure here; I'm expecting it to be light on words, but heavy on snowy landscapes, Christmas cheer, and drinky escapades. Cheers (and thanks again, Mom and Dad - first round at the Downtowner is on me)!
December 12, 2013
Above: can we take a moment to admire my furry new snow boots, which I just got (on sale, natch) for an upcoming adventure? They're so cozy, I've even been wearing them around the house a bit.
Back in September, I planted a pot of "Imperator 58" carrots to sate my desire for a fall garden amidst the uncertainty of buying a house and moving. I wasn't sure how they would do in a pot, and I wasn't sure what kind of sunlight our new property got - so I stuck the pot out in the middle of our backyard, and kinda forgot about it...
Well. I checked on them the other day, and couldn't resist the urge to pull out a baby. They seem to be... carrots! There's just something about gardening that simultaneously makes you feel magical for having grown something you previously only paid for in grocery stores – and completely inconsequential, because nature clearly runs the show, and will continue to actually grow things even when you neglect them for two months.
December 10, 2013
Dear Liz & Micah,
When I first found out that this would be your first Christmas alone together, and you only had four ornaments!, I started a plan to make some for you.
I thought, "what kind of ornaments would they choose? Probably woodsy natural." I started with the birch snowflakes, from the cabin of course. I love glitter, but I don't see it as your choice, so I used a few crystals, which I might add are either Czech glass or Swarovski, along with some cheap plastic buttons.
Next up: the leather boots. The darker tan leather is new. The lighter tan leather is the repurposed remains of my work gloves. The idea came from the boot ornaments we got on our family trip to Finland (Christmas of 1995). The boots also remind me of the hiking boots Dad gave me for Christmas in 1976. You now have those, Liz.
The mittens: again, either Czech glass or Swarovski – no cheap stuff here. They are made of fleece. I have a couple similar mittens that we've had since we were married (1981). My mom gave them to me (though – she didn't make them).
Then, I had seen these cute little critters and wanted to learn how to make them. It's a technique called "felting." I got natural wool, and created some faceless Scandinavian gnomes. I once heard a story that if you were kind to them (left them treats at night), then they would be good to you. (Maybe that's where leaving cookies for Santa started!) But if you ignored them, then sometimes they would do devious things, like hide things, knock over glasses, etc. I thought it would be fun for you to have some. They also remind me of the gnomes we bought in Norway (1982), though I wasn't aware of the story then. To make them fancy, I added real pewter charms. I also tried to make a chicken and a mouse, to mess with the gnomes. (I still think you might have real chickens someday... hopefully not mice.)
The sweet little fawn was my grandmother's, Nanny. It might look nice next to a candle and some greens. You don't have to keep it forever. It's been hidden here forever. It's just time to pass it on.
And finally, a couple "woodies." Slices from the redbud outside our family room window, here in Oklahoma. It watched over us for years. It was dying, so we just cut it down.
So these things... in this Christmas box are for you both... from my heart.
Merry Christmas with love,
Mom / Boon
P.S. The box is a cookie tin, that we bought while in Nuremberg, Germany (1997?).
December 9, 2013
Above: the beautiful bar at Bida Manda. The beautiful, creepy, empty pool at our hotel. My beautiful boyfriend. The beautiful chapel we totally desecrated with '90s dance music and tone-deaf renditions of "Don't Stop Believin'."
On Saturday, Micah and I went to a wedding reception at All Saints Chapel in downtown Raleigh. We decided to make a night of it: we got a last-minute hotel room (complete with creepy under-construction pool), had dinner at the highly-recommended Bida Manda, and then drinks somewhere in that area (you find the best places when you're lost, or hobbling around in 30-degree weather in heels on cobblestone). I was just happy that I got to dress up, see all my Finns at the reception, and dance barefoot (really, I'm just not made for heels).
December 6, 2013
So, I drove north from Oklahoma City, to Bartlesville (which is just south of the Kansas border). I got to see some of the amazing renovations my creative and handy parents are making to their house so they can sell it in the spring (it made me want to immediately go home and dig into the upstairs bathroom - knowing I'd have their support and guidance and power tools, of course). I played a lot of Yahtzee, and put Bailey's in my coffee whenever I could. I went on a ride in my dad's project car (an electric blue 1968 Mustang Cobra GT350), and had drinks with my mom at the top of the Price Tower (one of only two towers Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed, which he beautifully dubbed "the tree that escaped the crowded forest"). I went Christmas tree shopping and did a whole lot of crossword puzzles.
After a long weekend of all that, I flew my brother to Connecticut, and then came back to North Carolina, tired, happy, glad to be home – and excited for Christmas.
December 5, 2013
The last two weeks have been a blur of flying and driving all over the East coast and Midwest. I flew up to Connecticut to pick up my youngest brother from life college, then to Tulsa to drop him off with my mom, before driving down to Oklahoma City for a few days.
There, I worked out of the Braid office for a few days, and helped host a baby shower for Kathleen (who just posted these utterly Kathleen maternity photos). I got her a garnet-studded quartz (for a January baby), and a Pantone baby book, because the children are our future!
I spent the rest of the time eating and drinking and catching up with Kathleen and Jeremy (who were generous enough to let me sleep in their awesome guest room the whole time, and took me to all the new shops and restaurants that have popped up since my last visit). I saw my first snowfall of the year (kind of a big deal), and did some Christmas shopping, then headed out for the 2-hour drive north to my parents' house for Thanksgiving.
More on that tomorrow.
November 11, 2013
The downstairs / living areas of our house are finally starting to come together! This past weekend, I finished painting the living room, den, and dining room. We also made a (relatively) quick trip to the IKEA in Charlotte for some smaller items to feather our nest a bit (and to test-drive some of the furniture): frames, kitchen stuff, rugs, bedding, candles, blankets, and more frames.
We still need to frame and hang a lot of art, and style all the built-in shelves in the den/office, and there are random piles of letterpress sorts, animal skulls, and seashells seemingly everywhere... but now that these rooms are painted, everything is finally starting to gel. We invited people over for dinner this coming weekend as incentive to wrap. it. up. And just in time, our house is starting to feel more like our home.
November 4, 2013
Above: scenes from the weekend. The fall colors finally exploded. I painted a fireplace black, and started painting everything else white. Micah started clearing out the yard (but saved the last of the mums for me). We checked out the South Durham Farmers Market for the first time, and stocked up on the last of the summer's peppers, some baby ginger, fingerling potatoes, and kale. We visited my old stomping grounds to check out new pop-up shop Hatch - I got a bottle of Dish Whiskey, and wanted all of the Monsieur Fox pocket squares. We grabbed lunch at Pizzeria Toro (which unfortunately suffered a fire the next day, and is temporarily closed!).
This week, we're going to enjoy Micah's last birthday present: a pair of front-row center tickets to see Colin Meloy at the gorgeous, historic Carolina Theatre.