holiday hangover.

christmas is the time when everybody is who they normally are, but more so. -ira glass

raise your hand if you’d like to say an amen to that! that’s the sort of amen i can get behind. i hope you’ve all had a nice week! i’m back in portland after christmas in new england. there was snow, there was food, and reconnection with old friends and people i love. there was a tree strapped to the roof of a rented chevy impala. there was family being who they normally are, but more so… myself included. for better and for worse, we are who we are.

it was a nice trip, but it was hard. i do try to keep my posts around here on the cheery, spunky side, but i’m also into being honest about the nitty gritty challenges that life slings our way. because if we can hold the hard stuff close, and spin it around awhile, and sprinkle fairy dust on top, there are always silver linings, something to learn, something to be grateful for, a center point of balance that comes, in everything. the fairy dust is time, i think, and the dust is settling for me today.

in new hampshire, i spent a lot of hours sitting in my father’s living room, staring at the wood stove, talking and thinking and being with my parents. something i’ve not shared here yet is that my father has dementia. it’s getting worse, or different as it evolves, to weave a brighter cloth. but no matter how i frame it, what’s happening in this process isn’t pretty. dementia isn’t fun for anybody. it makes people angry, and frustrated, and sad, and frightened, and guilty, and resentful, and worried. there are, of course, certain pieces of dark humor to be found, but there are also tears– mostly those. there’s a kind of faith i’m finding, too, as i wade through it all, faith in something i can’t fully explain, but it’s here, and i do feel it. i do.

i’m back in my cozy little house with my animals in my lap. i’m thinking about mortality. i’m thinking about the real nuts and bolts of it. i’m thinking about freedom and independence and loving people for who they are right now, today, and how today is different from yesterday or tomorrow. i’m learning about coaxing, and firmness, and when to do what. and how to do things and make decisions i hoped i’d never need to make. i don’t know how to navigate any of it until i’m there & there isn’t a map. there is asking for help, and there’s help when i ask, thank goodness. but still, these are uncharted waters and i can’t help but feel a little lost at sea. my dad, though, he was an exceptional sailor, and i am his daughter. so.

don’t worry, i’m not all dour and dreary-cakes over here. only like, about halfway dreary. nothing the fairy dust of time won’t cure. i still think life is so, so beautiful… all of it. and, i do have some super cool stories to share about my trip, as well as a very exciting upcoming interview here on the blog! my first interview! with someone who might be my favorite person i’ve never actually met. she’s an artist, and she’s awesome, and that’ll be happening soon, my loves! i can’t wait. you can’t wait either, you just don’t know it yet. i will say, though, a present for someone might be involved. maybe.

i hope you’ve all held up well this last week. if you’re feeling tired, or fragile, or a bit unsettled from the holidaze, you’re not alone. not for a second. and neither am i, i’m sure of it. sending you all so much love and goodness as we ease ourselves toward january second.

xoxo

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happy, happy!

howdy, holiday people! i trust you’re all well-laden with festivity and good spirits, and that you’re feeling cuddled into winter on this shortest day of our year. i’m doing my best to lighten up these dark hours where i can…

♥  i bought a pink christmas tree ( i told you i love a little tacky!)

♥ … & pulled out the sweet little ones i made a few years ago.

♥ i took walks in the rain with my little dog.

♥ & said no to some things, & spent time in my favorite place in the world. at home.

♥ i made brownies. these, always, since they’re the best. i promise.

♥ i bought some handmade gifts, and other presents, and made quite a few things myself, because i love my people!!! (i’ll show you some of the projects here, after the opening day, so as not to wreck surprises for any potential recipients who might be reading.)

♥ i wrapped up a beautiful vintage harmonica i found at an estate sale for my boyfriend. then he picked up the box, shook it, and said, you got me a harmonica! …fail.

♥ i turned the lights down and the music up, and i painted my nails. (i should have left the lights on for that part, but at least there was ambiance where there were imperfect lines.)

♥ i also started packing that great love-of-my-life bag again, since i’m leaving tomorrow for new hampshire. i’ll see my dad, and my mama, and two of my best girlfriends in the whole wide world. i can’t wait to kiss their faces! i might even see a little snow. maybe, maybe.

i’ll try to write a post or two while i’m gone, but i might not have a chance… either way, i’ll be back soon to say hello. thanks for being here, sweet ones. i hope your holidays are magical and full of good.

xoxoxoxox, emily

one very good weekend.

the man and i went on several dates this weekend, and it was so nice to take that time for ourselves and slow down and hang out. we needed it. we: got takeout/ watched a screening of the 1920’s silent horror film the unknown at the hollywood theater, while an electronic band performed the score they’d written for it (totally bonkers amazing!!!) / played darts at a party/ drove out to the end of a dirt road in the country to buy an electric guitar/ made a campfire in the backyard/ went thrifting at the goodwill bins.

i found three major special items and spent seven little dollars.

herve chapelier tote bag. it is super simple & attractive & well-made, bigtime score!

vintage wool blanket. i have a bit of a blanket collecting problem, i’m afraid… but i love the way a stack of blankets warm up a corner in the house, and i throw them over the backs of chairs & my feet at night, and wrap my friends in them around our campfires, and thusly justify my compulsion. no, i can’t turn down a wool blanket as pretty as this one, even though it might have been revoltingly dirty when i found it. nothing a couple of hot runs through the washer and dryer didn’t take care of. (i hoped it wouldn’t felt too much and get ruined in the wash, but took my chances.) i love you, new blanket!

what else i love is this desk chair. and when i say love, i’m talking love-love. i’m not kidding when i tell you that i have been dreaming of a chair just like this one, for a long time. i haven’t ever had a functional chair at my little work table, and was waiting and waiting and waiting, and then bang, it appeared! (nice bonus: a small plaque on the back that says “property of spacelabs.”) thanks, thrifting deities, merry christmas to me!

if three special things would show up in your life, and all you had to trade for them was seven dollars, what would those things be?

xo

things i wish i didn’t know about marshmallows.

so, i made marshmallows. i needed some of those small christmas gifts to have on hand for moments when i need a little present for someone right now, when they are knocking at my door, kindly bearing a bit of holiday cheer. nothing like making up a mug of hot cocoa and having fancy homemade marshmallows to float on top… this was the theory behind marshmallow madness.

the practice, however, not well-considered: gelatin? corn syrup? scientific temperature control? oh, dear. by the way, have you ever poured boiling liquid sugar into gelatin and then smelled the resulting aroma? not recommended. it’s changed my relationship with marshmallows, and not in a good way.

long story short: minor fiasco. can fiascos be minor? no, it was a series of mishaps, only. (side note: the fiasco! episode on this american life is my fave. part one, peter pan: listen now!)

anyway, i’d made sure i had all of the ingredients and necessary materials, and got everything arranged, and my stand mixer set up, and plopped the candy thermometer into the heating marshmallow liquid on the stove. the thermometer, the brand-new one i bought that day, was defective; the red needle spinning wildly off the gate. then i noticed that my jar of “confectioner’s sugar” was actually flour. also, i had exactly 12 minutes to procure said sugar before everything went to hell. thank goodness for a (relatively) good-natured boyfriend taking an afternoon nap in the next room, and for a market just down the street. sorry, boyfriend, no nap for you! off to the store like a champion.

it all came together in the end, it really did! it all worked out, like how happens. and now there are marshmallows in pretty cellophane bags, ready for gifting. (and a few left out for us.)

what small goodies do you make up for your loved ones this time of year? something… easy?

xo

ten little minutes.

hi loves,

i’m trying to find the quiet when i can these days. my mind is chattery and i’m looking at my calendar and thinking oh, dear, why didn’t i say no a little bit more this month? you might relate to that? or, if you don’t, you might be a zen master who is great with boundaries (teach me your secrets please).

so sitting down for ten minutes like i’m doing now, this is helping. but it doesn’t make for great entertainment on your end, i’m afraid.

i did some ironing the other day, how’s that? not entertaining, either, unfortunately. but that is all i’ve got. more action than reflection around here lately, and that cycle needs to ebb on out, i’d say. tomorrow, i’m going to give myself a present: i’ll sit down and write for an hour. i think i can make that happen. yes, it can, if i stand up right now and go and do my life tonight.

 

xo

 

tangential holiday-themed rambling.

oh, people. i’ve stopped giggling about yesterday’s photographs long enough to try to write something. we’ll see how it goes.

okay, i’m ready. almost ready already, that is. for the christmas stuff. sort of semi-ready, at least. how about you?

this is my favorite piece of the holidays, the readying. (i think i’ve mentioned that before.) the wrapping. the making & baking & writing & stacking of boxes. i love to think about people i love and what i can give that will make them smile. i love walking into the post office, laden with brown paper packages, and walking out with empty arms. i love the camaraderie in a line at the post office in december. call me crazy, but i do.

what else i love is this: the annual white elephant holiday party with my friends! it’s happening on saturday and i am thoroughly stoked. (of note: parties and i are not best friends, but this one? so good.) i will be there wearing a new dress. (don’t ask where i got it, ok?) i’ll be bringing bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese. it’s that sort of party… over the top. it’s the sort of party that mentions amy’s homemade eggnog and the phone number for radio cab in the same sentence. the other thing about the party is the gifts. the whole premise is that the gift we bring must be coveted by someone. competition is fierce; rules are complicated and change each year, depending on who is hosting. i am very excited about the thing i’m bringing, in that box up there. you’ll find out what it is soon enough. think of that box (and the envelope) as a sneak peek into something totally awesome. and then just wait. it’ll feel like christmas when you see what’s in there. you just might fall in love. i think you will.

what are up your sleeves for this weekend? how will you steep it in wonderful?

xo

ps. julie asked about how white elephants work, so i wrote up a totally long-winded answer in the comments area, if you’re curious and want to become the coolest party host ever. ha.

what’s up.

my super awesome and hilarious friend migzy bedazzled the creatures.

best. present. ever.

want to know the woman behind these amazing productions? see her photography work, rich in secret skater life and other exciting happenings here. there’s plenty more on her personal website here. she’s everywhere, that migzy. also, i do believe she’s for hire for photography/writing/design work. god i love her. thanks, lady! i owe you an americano. or a mocha. a big one.

i’ll be back tomorrow with some pictures that aren’t funny.

xo

old cloth.

hello, sweethearts! i hope you’ve all had magical weekends. i spent mine doing some gift-creating, pet snuggling, soup-making (this old standby; you need to eat it), and hitting up an estate sale. it was awesome.

i learned a secret: estate sales in december are a good idea. while everyone else is at the mall, or in their kitchens, or on ladders hanging lights, (or hanging over from their holiday work parties), you could be freely perusing rooms filled with vintage gems and memory. doesn’t that sound better? yes it does. i found some good stuff, really good stuff. i spent ten bucks and came home with a rather massive pile of clothy things. (and a pile of projects in mind for them, too.)

i came home and soaked and washed and soaked and washed until the doilies! napkins! runners! sheets! pillowcases! were sparkly white. then i hung them everywhere around the house to dry. mazzy star helped me along with it all. so did this advice about caring for old linens.

i’ve got some ironing to do this morning, and other chores. like, refill the bird feeder, i’m being reminded just now, as the number one patron of the bird feeder is knocking at the window, somewhat furiously. it’s a squirrel. he is knocking. he wants his seeds and he wants them now, it seems! so i’m off to do my tending, into the fog of this wintercold morning. all of the colors look brighter today, i’m not sure why.

have lovely days, people. i’ll be back soon.

xo

on that good night last night…

i took some time to set up a little christmas cheer in this tiny cottage. i like my holiday decor really simple, but i do change it up a bit every year, and try to put some intention in. these next few weeks can be hectic, and it’s nice to bring some pretty in at home to counter the pace of it all.

little white lights make me happy. so do tatted things, and a thrifted vintage plastic deer. on a random impulse, i bought a bouquet of pink roses instead of my usual gathering of branches for a “tree,” and am fully stoked on them! there are cranberries on a romantic strand of dental floss, waiting to be hung. there’s a wreath on the door. some mental lists. things to make. water in a kettle. sam cooke on the stereo. into it. readysetgo.

this is how i geek out on december. how do you keep these weeks festive and nourishing for yourself? how do you make it yours? what are your favorite parts?

xo