Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Wish

Could a person be any happier than this sweet child looks? It doesn't seem so.

This photo fell out of an old, presumed to be empty, scrapbook purchased at an estate sale. 

We don't know who she is.We don't know where she is.

But we know that she was the apple of someone's eye.

Someone who wanted to capture this sparkly little elf on film.

Someone who she loved back enough to give them this amazing smile.

Every time we look at this image we smile too, and think - we should be this happy. 
We have every reason to be.

So, here's the wish , which like most wishes may come true a little faster with a bit of effort on the part of the Wishee:

Be this happy.

At least sometimes let's overlook the wrinkles in our stockings or our faces.

Put our hands in our pockets and ignore the nip in the air. Or savor it.

Be glad someone loves us enough to give us a bad haircut.

Remember that we are very lucky to have a home, a neighborhood, our basic needs met.

Channel this little doll, or any other child or adult who inspires you to look at and appreciate the raw wonders of daily life. 

And even if it is just sometimes - be this happy.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Clean Things Organized Neatly

At the suggestion of NDL, a real photographer carefully arranged these items, photographed them, 
and then submitted the photo to Things Organized Neatly.


Today it made it onto that blog with this title: Ten Years of Washing Machine Artifacts Found by a Mother of Three Boys.

Whoo Hoo! We're famous. Or at least the stuff that came out of our collected pockets is.

In case you're wondering, this is not all that was found after the spin cycle. 
(Anybody need a couple dozen squeaky clean golf tees?) 

And of course over time there was plenty of coinage found and dropped straight  into the laundress' tip jar.
  (Otherwise know as Mom's Bloody Mary Fund.)

Thanks, Boys.

Photo and artistic styling: Sam Plasch

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Another wonderful, little, surprise turn of events at Christmastime. 
This one brought to us by Apple and a bigger, equally delightful boy.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Long Wait

And again from John Lewis, a really well done advert.

With a very sweet Christmas sentiment.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


It is more than a bit overdone, but if you just haven't had enough of the Keep Calm and .... phenomenon 
go to Keep Calm Studio and make a custom poster for yourself or a loved one. 

Perhaps someone you know would be happy to find something like this in their stocking.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Journey

The UK's John Lewis department store knows how important, and difficult,  it is to get it right.

For some it is more of a danger-filled odyssey than a journey.

Take heart oh ye intimidated shoppers. It is truly the thought that counts.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

May We Suggest...

...another stop on your tour of garden centers?

Tangletown Gardens is a sight to behold in summer or winter.

It is especially nice on a warm or cold, bright, sunny day. 
Just look at that flaming red twig dogwood available for your holiday decorating needs!

And now, as if Tangletown alone is not enough of an attraction, there is, just across the street, 

the lovely Wise Acre Eatery.

Menus feature food from Tangletown Farm.

Shown here is the Shades of  Autumn salad.

Ummm...bacon steak.

It's like a giant lardon. A salade frisee lover's dream come true.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Whose Big Idea was This Anyway?

 Bachman's, that's who! 

Holiday Ideas House 2013 benefits the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

The theme - "A Cozy, Contemporary Nordic Celebration".

Enter through the porch past the cocoa bar.

Notice the re-purposed tire rim side table with glass top encasing pine cones and greens.

Unless you were very observant (or read the brochure) you might not know that the stacked logs inside the glass doored bookcases are faux. 
Ikea fabric was used to create the effect.

We love a tree heavy on ornaments made of natural materials, and lots of red.

Cozy indeed!

The dining table set for Christmas.

The sun room is ready for pre-, or apres, dinner nibbling and tippling.

More red!

A most festive loo.

Bedroom fit for a snow princess.

Don't even try to not dream of sugarplums here.

Dreamy tree.

Ethereal snowflakes.

The gardener's room.

Picture yourself here planning next year's garden.

A bit of green to gaze at when it is white, white, white outside.

Bring that birdbath in to enjoy as a mini landscape base until Spring.

The master bedroom looking earthy and glitzy at once. 

A good look all winter through.

Use those jewels and baubles as decor.

Fir, feathers, and antlers. Woodsy! 

Tablescapes ideas room.

The classic holiday table.

Happy New Year!

A winter wedding.

And the main idea, sincerely expressed without no embellishment needed, 
....have yourself some very Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Forest Fun

Hunters and hikers be aware!

Little picnickers are everywhere!

Don't step on them.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Matte Stephens Confluence

All of a sudden artist Matte Stephens is creating a giant blip on our radar 
with his retro style renderings of all sorts of interesting people, places, animals,
 and animated inanimate objects

It happened like this - we were recently admiring his work on  Etsy, when a sister-in-law who knows of and enables several of our addictions sent us one of these great shopping bags from Whole Foods in collaboration with Etsy and Matte Stephens his ownself.

Holiday Better Bag

But wait, there's more!

Look who is the cover illustrator for the Poppytalk 2013 holiday lookbook of handcrafted gift ideas! 

Why yes, it's Matte Stephens!

He's, he's everywhere!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Maybe We Shouldn't Go with #5

As if we didn't already have way too many things to consider when choosing a new kitchen paint color...

cabinets, appliances, curtains, adjacent room wallpaper, avoiding hues that induce the gag reflex in diners....

Now there is the possibility that the wrong choice could lead to depression, sorrow, sadness, or violence. 

Wait a minute... we have already experienced all of these emotions in our currently Warm Earth colored kitchen and just thought it had to do with our rate of cooking disasters. 

Guess it was the wall color all along. After the remodel we will give Tripe Surprise another try. 
Surely the family will love it this time! 

Better go with #20 just to be sure.

Vintage color wheel found by Cathe Holden and made available to amateur designers 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Stand Back!

Why the dog has to stay on the porch after swimming in the lake.
(Even though we love him dearly.)

Go on. Turn up the volume and take it to full screen. Oh yea.

from Variable on Vimeo.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Jim and Pam (and Even Dwight)

Don't you kinda miss them? The gang at Dunder Mifflin. 
Yeah, they were annoying, but we grew to love them.

It's Friday morning and there are no Scranton office hi-jinx to talk about at the office
around the water-cooler (or at the breakfast table). No Liz Lemon lore either.

Thursday nights (and Friday mornings) are just not the same anymore.

Monday, October 28, 2013


The reason we won't be going to Denmark anytime soon.

Unless someone can assure us the coast is clear.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spooky Spirits

Target knows grownups like treats too.

Not too far from the candy corn, snack-sized Snickers bars, and dreaded Bit-O-Honey, is a carefully selected grouping of Halloween-themed wines. Mostly blood red of course.

That 5:00-7:00 trick-or-treating time can get awfully long without a little sustenance so stock up. 
Grab some cheese and crackers too. 

 Oh, and don't forget the candy. Although it's been done...raiding the pantry for cans of corn and the like is not all that popular with the kids.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Our love of garden gnomes goes only so far.

Not this far.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Sure-Fire Outdoor Recreation Incentive Plan

Forest Lodge Nature Trail.  A great place for a fall color hike.

The trail, with interpretive guidebook, is great for kids and adults. 
It passes through a diverse set of ecosystems including a hemlock grove, a bog, and a swamp, as well as pine, tamarack, maple, birch and aspen stands.

And hey! When the hike is done it is just a bit more distance down the road to the classic lodge and bar at Garmisch USA resort

Due to having walked the longer outer loop of the nature trail we felt very deserving of the Garmisch famous Bloody Mary and their amazing Swiss mushroom burger.

Yes, you can believe your eyes, you are seeing a pickle, olive, celery stick, pickled green bean, asparagus and Brussels sprout, lemon and lime slices, cheese cube and....a beef stick! with beer chaser on the side.
A meal in a glass and an impressive feat of beverage engineering.

That's how we do things in the Northwoods.