Indoor animals never cease to amaze. Recently at a holiday party, our sons gravitated towards the mischievous Meeko, a beautiful and friendly fluffball of a cat who, you'd never guess by looking at, is currently on parole from the county D.A. Meeko suffers from a Napoleonic complex and compulsively picks fights with very very large dogs. His last fight landed him in hot water with the authorities and he is now miserably confined to the house. He wants out worse than a teenage girl at a family reunion.Read More
Look at them, an idyllic family, frolicking hand-in-hand-in-hand through the grass on a breezy fall day. I spent an afternoon photographing them for their holiday card and let me brag for just a moment about their stellar qualities. They are very low-maintenance. No one worried about hair or clothes or the cold. They seem to really like each other. Seven people crammed together and not one nasty word was uttered. And talk about patient!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
Last spring, in the "trough of sorrow", when I doubted absolutely everything I was doing, I got an email from Janine Vangool, editor of UPPERCASE Magazine. She was including my collections in her new Compendium of Craft and Creativity.
Janine's email stated that The UPPERCASE Compendium of Craft & Creativity would collect the most inspiring work of the past few years into a beautiful print publication. Rich with stories of the makers, it would include interviews, studio tours and delve into the creative process. SheRead 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
Let's start the discussion today with a question: flour sifting. Why? Why? I'm all ears. Seriously, does separating the wee particles of flour moments before combining them back together make a whit of difference in flavor?
As you can guess, this post is an opportunity for me to nitpick. Or, more diplomatically, it's a break-down of what it takes to modernize an old-school recipe. I'm taking my favorite Christmas cookie recipe, which came from my grandma, which she got from dear Mabel Shauber who, God rest her soul, might have been the original prototype for Dana Carvey'sRead 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
Yes, we are back in the 1960s. Isn't it so pretty? Like every other trend, holiday decorating goes in cycles, and the current one is less about red and green and more about sparkle and shine. As you can see from this series of photos (everything available in the shop, of course) I am leaning towards soft shades of turquoise warmed up with aged gold.
It has taken some time to track down all these vintage holiday items. Most of it is from the 1950s-60s and when I see it at estate sales, I pounce.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.
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.
Gravy: the liquified essence of a bird's life. A good one has hints of sunshine, rain, corn mash, and even slaughter. Hyperbole, you think? Never!
My grandmother taught me how to make gravy. Hers was a basic recipe, nothing extra added in, other than the sheer effort it took to make a few gallons of the stuff. That's the catch, you see.
A three-gallon batch of gravy takes on a life of its own. But when the family swells the way that ours has, it is a necessity. So now, my job at ThanksgivingRead More
Below are the links that brought me some comfort last weekend. I hope they help you too:
A traveler, powdered sugar, and a cell phone come together in this lovely short essay that will heal your heart.
"No one leaves home, unless home is the mouth of the shark..." by Sarah Jameel on Medium.
These are the kind of monsters that actually inspire kids.
A view of Paris from Connecticut.
My own love letter to France, written a little more than a year ago.
Good design begins by breaking rules. It challenges the suppositions that society places on an object's use and look.
This set of built-in bunks (above) is a fine example of good design. The designers, Tim Barber Ltd., take a kid's furniture staple, the old rickety bunk bed, and beef it up by enclosing it, painting it an interesting non-kid color, and basically turning it into an architectural element in its own right.Read More
I am featuring this pretty water carafe and tumbler because its rightful place is on a bedside table, perhaps in your guest room. Yes, it is upon us! The holiday season lurks and the delicate dance between guest and host will soon commence. Lucille Ball sums up the complexity when she says of her cousin Ernie, "He stayed overnight with us for a couple of weeks once."Read More
Have you gone back to school as an adult? Do you think that the first day jitters are worse than when you were young?
Last winter I took a class at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. On my first day, I was nervously digging out coins for the parking meter when a skateboarder came rolling towards me. “It’s free parking on Saturdays, you know,” he said. “Really? That’s not what the sign says,” I responded. He was already halfway down the block and over his shoulder he hollered, “Guess you’ll have to follow your heart.”Read More
A few days ago, I stopped by a friend's house and she fixed me a cup of tea. That's inaccurate actually. She served me tea. With a porcelain tea set on a silver tray. It was wonderful. We curled up on her couch, batted away her hissy kitty, and drank cups and cups while talking about life, hellion children, the dangers of retail, and falling instantly in love with our better halves. I will be writing more about her in the coming season, as she is a true original.Read More
I am in the very fortunate position to have a bestie who lives next door. The value of this situation cannot be overstated. When I run out of something -- eggs, vodka, patience, ice for the vodka -- Stacey rescues me. She lends me lifesaving necessities like statement necklaces, extra bedrooms for the in-laws, a car. A condo. She lets me hide giant gifts in her garage on Christmas Eve. Is there anything she doesn't do?Read More
A girl and her horse! The bond is real, romantic, and unbreakable. Today as I shot images of these vintage coasters, I wished I had a horse to guide me. Frankly I'm confused. I adore this blog, and I enjoy the shop but how to divide my time? Plus, I have a couple of ideas for a book. I lust after a bricks and mortar space that would be part store / part studio. I fantasize about working as an art director for the likes of Anthropologie.
Where is my horse? I want to sit on its back...Read More
I bought a desk and chair at an estate sale last week. I'm excited to style it and shoot accessories on its top, like the collection above. The detritus of a desktop changes over the years, with certain objects fading into obscurity and others surviving no matter what cultural change is afoot. Not to mention the question of work style and work space, and whether or not you thrive on clutter or find it distracting. This week's listicle is about work space:Read More
Hello and Happy Friday! This image appeared in Lonny Magazine last month, and it has me in a tizzy. I'll explain in a moment. First I'd like to invite you to pour yourself a cup of coffee and join me in a game of "I Spy With My Little Eye". You could win a prize. I joke not.
Please study the photo for a moment and tell me what you see. Are you thinking it's a bunch of random stuff? If so, maybe you need to stroke your chin hairs and arch an eyebrow.Read More