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Sunday, December 25, 2011


38:365 believe.

"can you prove any of the stuff you believe in? my daughter asked me & when I said that's not how belief works, she nodded & said that's what she thought but she was just checking to make sure she hadn't missed a key point."
~ storypeople

happy holidays and merry christmas! I'm going to take a short break from my computer to enjoy time with my family...will be back before the new year.


Friday, December 23, 2011

an early christmas gift.

...from katie & sara. a matinee performance of the nutcracker followed by cocktails and dinner at ecco.

when the girls were young, the nutcracker was always part of our holiday, but we hadn't been in years. I think it's time to bring back the tradition!

the fox was decked out for the holidays and so were we.
before the nutcracker
the performance was wonderful ... and after the curtain call, one of the dancers proposed to the snow queen! awwww.....
36:365 the nutcracker.
ecco is just a few blocks from the fox and the bar opens at 4pm. perfect timing.

dinner was delicious (salad and pizza, risotto and ricotta cheesecake) and the conversation was so much fun. weddings. jobs.  making the most out of study abroad. families. holiday traditions. favorite songs.
dinner at ecco
thank you girls - I loved every minute!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

holiday bookclub. of my favorite december traditions is hosting holiday bookclub. we don't discuss a book, but there is still plenty of conversation. and food. and wine. which is really what our bookclub is all about!
holiday bookclub
thank you, katie, for a great photo! (click to see who's who)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

cranberry bliss.

...text message from sara, 1:52 pm this afternoon:
Bought the stuff to make cranberry bliss bars!
Should smell blissful when you get home :-)
oh my yes. I wish you could smell this.
34:365 cranberry bliss.

as much as I love coming home to chill, coming home to family, warmth, lights...and the smell of baking, is the best!

(thank you sara, it's wonderful!)

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

sunday in the park.

...I fumbled through my mittens to create my 2011 top ten christmas playlist on my iphone.

holly did get just a bit impatient. my fingers did get really really cold.

and when I got home I asked sara to download one more song. so now my 2011 holiday list has 11 songs.

I think it's perfect!

what music is on your playlist this holiday season?

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Friday, December 16, 2011

fifty years. a celebration of love & family. is my parents' golden anniversary. I love that our whole family was able to share in their celebration last month. so no party today. instead, I have a few images of the book to share.

that's one great thing about creating a book on-line - you can get more copies very easily! we ordered nine additional copies - one for each sibling and one for each grandchild. I have to say, I think the pile looks pretty impressive on my counter!

the cover photo is from their wedding. this is one of my all-time favorite photos. they look so happy...and stylish!

for the rest of the book, my sister-in-law and sister helped compile the photos - which meant a lot of scanning! we started with several hundred images and I pared it down to about one hundred for the final book. I used paislee press' off to press digital layouts to create the pages. and then I uploaded those finished jpg files to blurb to make the book. this is my first blurb book, so I can't say if it's easier to upload finished pages...but for me, the whole book thing was enough of a learning curve that it helped I knew how to use photoshop!

the book is organized by decade. each section starts with an opening two-page spread and a tag-line to define the decade.

here's the one for the 1960's.

and for the 2010's.

then there are detail spreads that tell a story from the decade. like this one about snow and camping from the 70's.

it's a good thing my mom took a lot of photos. and that she put them into albums for each of us. (and I am very happy now to have those photos all digital!)

each decade closes with another two-page spread. here's half of the 1990's.

and half of the 2000's.

the final book is forty-four pages total. I am really pleased with how it turned out. and reminded again how blessed I am to be part of my mom and dad's story.

mother & daddy - I love you. thank you for living the example of love. and family.  xxoo - m.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

holiday maggiano's.

...the tradition continues. as good as ever. I guess that's what makes good friends.
maggiano's holiday lunch
a quick photo on the way out the door - love the holiday sparkle!
we enjoyed fried calamari, maggiano's salad, pasta, wine and more pasta to take home. but no dessert (too full - not sure what we did differently to have room last year)! it was fun to talk about the holidays. and families. and weddings. and dogs. and - for just two minutes! - work!

thank you ladies for a wonderful time!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

wip wednesday.

...what's left to knit (for christmas gifts).
28:365 left to knit.

since two of the recipients read this blog, it seems safer to post an in progress photo of the ever-dwindling yarn instead of the ever-growing projects. with 12 days to go, I'm feeling pretty good. good, in fact, that I've ordered the yarn to knit the maggiknits piece. I want to wear it for new years. when we meet rob's family for the first time :-)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

tuesday unwrapped. much as I love letting these tuesday posts be completely spontaneous, I was a bit worried driving home from work at 5:30 that I had nothing in mind. the only photos I'd taken today were of a new trunk show at the shop (a blog post there coming tomorrow). I was thinking something along the lines of welcome home - I turned on the porch light and the tree lights (and turned up the heat :-) - and took holly out for a walk.

and then the moment hit me. that walk. the simply company of my best four-legged friend. the routine. the 30 minutes to unwind* (even better when it's not cold outside). love love need this time.
27:365 evening walk.

especially this time of year when it's accompanied by snowmen aglow.
snowmen aglow

*if you're familiar with myers-briggs, I am a committed "I" type (INTJ to be exact). working in a yarn shop for six straight hours every tuesday drains nearly every bit of energy I have. this walk with holly recharges me.


Monday, December 12, 2011

hello monday.

my desk at about 7am this morning
...hello to only four more days before the girls are home.
...hello to finally having my december journal caught up!
...hello to a holiday lunch today with my disciple class.
...hello to continuing a years-long maggiano's tradition on thursday with janel and lisa.
...hello to having sara's gift over half done, and to katie's over three quarters.
...hello to holiday postcards ready to mail!
...hello to a long to-do list, and to feeling like it's actually do-able.
...hello to feeling the magic of the season.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

sunday in the park.

...the crisp air and clear blue sky were energizing. the little pops of red made me happy.

but it was the sunshine that really made me smile.
25:365 flare.

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grateful, every day. email from big picture classes (where I'm taking ali edwards' one little word class) arrived in my inbox yesterday announcing a new self-paced class called grateful, every day.

this one caught my eye because big picture classes will  donate 100% of the proceeds from my $10 registration fee to the charity of my choice, and they'll match that $10 100%, for a total donation of $20.


I've wanted to learn art journaling for years and the teacher mou saha, says her goal for this project is to create an art journal exploring the blessings in our own lives. what sealed the deal was looking at the supply list. a class that has me using watercolor paper and three different kinds of faber-castell pens seems like a perfect way to start.

so I signed up. (note that I wasn't able to designate a specific charity, but I was able to select one area from a list of four - women, children, animals and world relief). still a great deal. and a wonderful way to start this sunday.

(sorry for the long silence here - things are good, just very busy!)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

tuesday unwrapped.

...treasuring this morning moment for two reasons:

first, that brilliant cardinal red is seen best against the neutral landscape and bare trees of winter. I don't really think of winter as a pretty season, but it is. beautiful.

and second, I was already late for work (spent a few extra minutes on my hair, ugh!), but I saw the bird as I was backing out the driveway and knew it could be the moment. I tried to take the picture from my rolled down car window, but of course I wasn't close enough. so I put the car in park, jumped out and gave that cardinal my best photographer moves... and I still made it to work with four minutes to spare!

again, I'm linking up with emily. looking forward to seeing what others have to share.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

december daily 2011.

...I'm a little embarrassed to admit this. (don't worry, it's nothing terrible - I'm only "a little" embarrassed :-) I've been slow about posting here because this is post 1001. and I had grand intentions of celebrating post #1000. I guess when I made that fifty for 50 list, I didn't consider the real impact of trying to post daily during november, or how much I post in december, sharing december daily, and holiday fun. so here's my first change to that list... instead of celebrating my 1000th post, I'm going to celebrate my blog's 5th anniversary. next february. when I'm sure things will be much quieter!

whew, it feels so good to get that off my chest! ...and now back to regular posting.

15:365 december daily begins.
2011 journal...ready to start
one of my favorite things about december is my december journal. started in 2007 with shimelle's fabulous journal your christmas (JYC), I've continued the tradition with a mix of shimelle's prompts and ali edwards' december daily (tell a story each day). 2008 was a hybrid album, 2009 & 2010 were full digital. and for 2011, I decided on another hybrid. just to have the fun of playing with scissors and glue and pretty paper. for reals!

five days into this format, I'm loving it! I downloaded ali's 6x8.5 printables and bought a 7x10 art journal from michaels. I dis-assembled the journal and ran the pages through my printer. one page per day - with room to add "extra stuff" when I get it. once the month is done, I'll reassemble the pages, do something fun with the covers, probably add ribbons to the spiral binding. who knows!

so today's JYC is about advent calendars and I have a new one this year. I've discovered empty nesting and advent calendars can result in 1) way too much chocolate and/or 2) a daily early morning reminder that you're getting old. so I'd planned something new for this year. I'd downloaded ali's advent boxes a few months ago, but it wasn't until last thursday that I hit on the idea of overlaying those boxes on favorite photos (heavily inspired by this photo).

dec 5 front
today's page - the tree, three of my favorite ornaments already hanging, and a photo of pulling it all together (it was actually much messier than this!)
I spent way too many happy hours on thursday going through my archive of photos and found 24 favorites. I gathered them into photoshop pages, spent a few more hours matching those advent boxes with the photos, and later, adhered the photos to patterned paper, cut them out, added eyelets and cord. the finished "calendar" is 24 of my favorite mostly holiday photos, ready to hang on a tree.

I love the finished result. beside the tree is a snowman dish full of ornaments waiting to be hung. he's full of happy memories waiting to be relived. ...and I loved the process of creating it. those hours spent sorting through the photos reminded me how beautiful our holidays are...and I'm grateful to have so many of those moments captured.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

sunday in the park.

...we walked two laps. holly chased and barked at squirrels while I noticed the grays and browns in the landscape (it took my mind off my very cold fingers).

and then she posed for a photo.
18:365 sunday in the park.

the perfect way to commemorate our one-year anniversary!

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Friday, December 2, 2011

focus friday. november one little word.

...november's prompt was about self-reflection through a series of "i statements". ali provided the six statements and we had three extra spaces for pretty paper collages. when I first watched the video back on november 6, I thought "wow, good stuff"...but as the month progressed, I found it hard to nail down my thoughts. this word, and the process that ali has led us through, have had such an impact on me. how do I sum it all up on six little cards?

last weekend, with the 30th just a few days away (of course the focused me was going to finish the prompt by the end of the month!), I printed the cards on scrap paper, glued them into my journal, and started writing. I finished yesterday (yeah, a day late) and printed the cards for real. the paper collages were easy (for once!) and the words seemed right.

except for the i believe statement. the one I journaled read "the process ali presented has been a huge part of why this word. this year. has worked." but when I went to write it on the card, what came out was "I chose the right word. at the right time. and I'm so grateful. (amen!)" those words are right.

I watched the december video last night, and I'm looking forward to finishing up the project later this month. and yes, I've already signed up for the 2012 class. and chosen my word. more about that later. for now, it's still about focus!