Cookie Cutters

cookie 7

cookie 6

cookie 4

cookie 1

cookie 2

cookie 3
Ever since I can remember I have always loved to bake.
My mother was ever so patient with me in the kitchen whenever I would help make cookies, scones and pies alongside her.
I still have the glued together pie plate I broke when I was about five years old due to my over zealousness and excitement to assist her.

As I got older I loved to sift through my mother’s Martha Stewart collection of magazines and dogear all sorts of cookie recipes. Even though I still lived at home I began to collect my very own baking accoutrements in my teens. One of the first things I acquired was a set of vintage cookie cutters and began to master the art of a rolled out sugar cookie. Soon I was collecting cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes for every holiday and special event. I made cookies for Christmas, Valentines day, Easter, Halloween, birthday parties, showers and weddings. I even made heart shaped cookies sandwiched together with strawberry jam for my own wedding.

When Hannah was born I couldn’t wait until she was old enough to help roll out dough and cut out cookies alongside me. By that time I had quite the collection of cutters for her to choose from. She loved to see how many shapes she could fit onto one piece of rolled out dough.

I recently culled through my cookie cutter collection which had grown into two huge baskets. I passed some along and kept my absolute favorites. As I sifted through them I thought about what each one was used for. A saw and hammer I had bought to make for my Pop’s birthday one year. An umbrella and stork for all of the baby showers. A guitar and musical note for Chris when he first started playing and an antique chicken cutter when we first got our hens.

Although I may not make as many cut out cookies throughout the year as I did in my younger days, not a Christmas or Easter goes by without them. This weekend I saw my Aunt Patty, who hosts Easter dinner every year. She asked “you’ll bring the cookies right?”
Of course I will!

The Beauty of a Basket

basket 13

basket 2

basket 3

basket 4

basket 5

basket 6

basket 7

basket 8

basket 9

basket1
basket 14

basket 12

basket 11
Can you tell I have a bit of a basket addiction?

I can’t help but bringing just one more home from the thrift.
They are the pockets of my home, bringing order and beauty to the piles of stuff. Messes of toys, laundry and paper look so much prettier in a basket.

I love their texture, their handmade natural, organic feel and that they are both beautiful and useful.

Baskets can be the “jack of all trades” in your home. Think outside of the box and get creative. Give them a job and they will be sure to give a stellar performance.

::Baskets are very inexpensive at the thrift. Collect a variety. Look for different shapes, heights, color and design.
::Hang your baskets. Hang one in the bathroom to hold a hand towel, by your kitchen sink to hold dish brushes or by your desk for pens and pencils.
::Use baskets as artwork. Hang basket lids or trays for texture. Sometimes they can cast beautiful shadows.
::Plants and baskets make a beautiful couple. Hide an ugly plastic pot inside a basket and give your flora a whole new feel.
::Baskets can soften a space. A basket of blankets or books can warm up an empty corner.
::Baskets are beautiful on their own even without a use. Use baskets in your vignettes to become part of a scene.
::Turn a basket into a vase by tucking a glass or ball jar of flowers inside. A basket bouquet!
::Keep a stockpile of baskets stored away. They make the perfect gift full of goodies.

In Honor of St. Patrick

st patty 1

st patty 2

st patty 3

st patty 4

st patty 5

st patty 6

st patty 8

st patty 9

st patty 10

st patty 11

st patty 13

st patty 15

st patty 16

We love tradition in my family.
I appreciate our rituals that revolve around the seasons and holidays. But I mostly enjoy how they bring us all together.
On Saturday, my mother had us over for her annual St Patty’s day/Spring Equinox celebration.
It was a chilly, sunny day. We walked in to a warm and cozy house with Irish ballads playing and signs of spring tucked here and there.
There was salmon, brown bread, deviled eggs, potatoes and soda bread.
My grandmother told stories of her days living in Donegal, Ireland and my mother pulled out her tea cozies for us all to wear in honor of St. Patrick.

Quick Knits

hat

seat

I love a finished project don’t you?
Freshly painted walls. A hand built rock wall. A whole new room!
It is such a satisfying feeling to complete something.
But sometimes my projects can feel overwhelming. The prep, the materials, the money!

I have my fair share of complicated projects that sit unfinished. And I have a long list of projects I would like to start one day soon. I know I’ll eventually get around to them.
But in the mean time it’s always nice to have a few simple, affordable and attainable ones that can easily be picked up on a whim. That’s why I love to knit.

Both of these patterns are from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts, a Christmas gift from my sister. I love the photographs in this book and the simple yet beautiful projects.

The Spiral Seat Cushion was made for Hannah’s desk chair. It was so fun to make as it’s knit in one piece without having to sew anything together. I used a super soft, bulky merino wool which made for a comfy seat. I love how the yarn pops against the wood.

I had a bit of the white yarn left over so I decided to make the Little Pointy Elf Hat for a special friend who is due soon. It was a quick knit made in just a few hours at craft circle last night.

Now, back to scraping and spackling my kitchen walls.

Make your Bed

bed 1

bed

I remember making my bed as a child. I would find pleasure in pulling my quilt up and tucking it neatly under the bottom of my pillow, then placing my stuffed animals and dolls on top just so.
I also remember sitting for hours pouring over my Eloise Wilkin books, many of which involved domestic work. One of my favorites being We Help Mommy . I still have the book and now Norah likes me to read it to her. I loved the drawings of the daily chores and especially remember the making the bed page.

Funny enough, the love of making my bed sort of vanished when I moved out and on my own.
I admit that just in the last year did I start to consistently make my bed.
Maybe with tight morning schedules, small kids and just rushing out the door it never became high on my priority list.
And why would I want to take the time to make a bed when before I knew it I would be pulling it apart to sleep in?

Well I am here to tell you that I have turned a new leaf!
I now look forward to making my bed each morning and sometimes I kick Chris out earlier than he would like because I truly am excited to make our bed.

I don’t know what the turning point was but I have found that the daily routine of it brings me joy.
Also, my bedroom feels neat, orderly, clean and clutter-free when my bed is made. Even if there may be a pile of dirty clothes on the floor.

Not to mention, at the end of a day when I am tired and done, there is nothing like slipping in to a crisply made bed.

You would be surprised on how many tutorials there are out there on how to make a bed. But don’t get overwhelmed. No need to make a bed you can bounce a quarter off of. The simple act of pulling up your covers and smoothing out a few wrinkles is all you need.

A few bed making tips

::Try to make your bed as soon as you get up (or after everyone is out of it). It starts the day off on the right foot and feels good to check something off your to-do list right away. Believe it or not, leaving the house knowing my bed is made has helped me to be more productive with the rest of my day.
::Just because you didn’t get to make your bed in the morning doesn’t mean you can’t make it in the afternoon. It only takes a few minutes and you’ll be glad you took the time to do it when you are crawling in that night.
::Treat yourself to a new set of sheets, pretty ones that you love and maybe a few new throw pillows to brighten things up. They will make your bed-making experience that much more enjoyable.
::While making your bed, think of a few intentions for your day ahead. Making your bed can be a meditative experience that you will soon look forward to.
::Think of your bedroom as a place to retreat to. Walking in to a comfy, neat space mid day for a nap, to read a book or at the end of a long day can aid in relaxation and sleep.
::Lavender is a great aid for relaxing and winding down before bedtime. Sprinkle a few drops of the essential oil in your hands and rub on your pillow. Sweet dreams!

So make your bed. I promise, you’ll thank me in the morning (and at night!)