Thursday, January 31, 2013

Learn to Like Simple


Learn to like what doesn’t cost much.
Learn to like reading, conversation, music.
Learn to like plain food, plain service, plain cooking.
Learn to like fields, trees, brooks, hiking, rowing, climbing hills.
Learn to like people, even though some of them may be different…different from you.
Learn to like to work and enjoy the satisfaction doing your job as well as it can be done.
Learn to like the song of birds, the companionship of dogs.
Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house, and fixing things.
Learn to like the sunrise and sunset, the beating of rain on the roof and windows, and the gentle fall of snow on a winter day.
Learn to keep your wants simple and refuse to be controlled by the likes and dislikes of others.

Lowell C. Bennion  via A Well Traveled Woman

Cats are always good at simple. 

Photo via Velera Kulow Animals Pinterest.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Reading Room # 4: Sense and Sensibility

This room with it's quiet elegance, simple hearth and watchful Sybilla Persica would make a perfect back drop for taking on the love trials of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. The room looks like it could be a bedroom in Barton Cottage. Modest with a few belongings from a grander past. Where's my copy of Sense and Sensibility?

Image via Limilee.

More Fantastic Foxes

I have to say I'm a little obsessed with these creatures lately. It's certainly lovely to catch glimpses of one first hand.

Our neighborhood fox shows up at the oddest times and he is fast. I usually realize he is around when I sense something has just whizzed past the window. Then if I'm lucky, I catch him on his rounds or going on his way into the woods. He has been a highlight of the winter.

Young Mr. Fox print available from This Years Girl on Etsy.
Fox door knocker via This Ivy House

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pure Winter

This lakeside villa in Finland seems like it was built for winter. The stark white interior and generous views of the surrounding snow laden forest and lake distill winter perfectly. The sauna, wood stoves, fur throws and crisp beds add warmth and make this simple house a perfect space to snuggle up and contemplate the beauty of the season.

Architects: Avanto Architects
Location: Virrat, Finland

More photos and information on the Four-cornered Villa at This is Paper.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just Add Snow

Suddenly it feels like winter in a big way. Nothing like temperatures in the teens to make the cheeks rosy. Thank you arctic cold spell.

Now it just needs to snow and we can say we had a winter this year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Good Omens

Do you believe in omens? If so, do you believe in the positive kind? I do. My pencil cactus bloomed the other day. It doesn't sprout the tiny yellow flowers often or for long, but each time they appear something good seems to be on the way. So, I feel something good is in store for us. A little superstition can be a good thing.

In the Night Sky

I looked out the window tonight and was surprised at how close a star was to the moon. Turns out it is Jupiter paying the moon an up close visit and we will have to wait until 2026 before these two celestial bodies are this close again. Sometimes it pays to stay up late and star gaze.

My little foray into astronomy tonight, made me wonder what it would be like to live in a world where time was still measured by the phases of the moon. The 2013 lunar calendar pictured above is by Dimitre Lima and is available to buy at

Monday, January 21, 2013

Affordable Luxuries #12: Winter Roses

Usually I buy tulips this time of year when I need a "pick me up". I've switched it up though thanks to the little one, who given the choice of flowers goes for roses. I have to say, I have really been enjoying her obsession with roses.

She leans towards pinks, except when they are rainbow dyed bunches on display. I managed to talk her out of those, but maybe I'll give in one day. And why not? At $12 for twelve stems, one can afford to go a little crazy and have a psychedelic bouquet for a change. Loving winter roses as an affordable luxury.

Reading Room # 3: Reading in Bed

Is there any better place to read? Not for me. I'm happiest when I'm reading in a nice bed. I've probably done most of my reading lying down with the book too close to my face. I think it's the best way to start drifting off to sleep. A story you like in your head, going as far as you can, till the book starts falling from your hand.

This bed tucked in under an archway with its cheery pillows and covers would make a perfect backdrop for one of Murakami's shorter works like "Sputnik Sweetheart" or maybe something by Jonathan Lethem. "Motherless Brooklyn" anyone? What book would you lie down and read in this room?

Photo from Maker Stories on Design Sponge

Vulpes Vulpes

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary
some in the wrong direction
Practice resurrection

Wendell Berry

Some of the nicest sights this winter are the glimpses I catch of our little red fox (Vulpes vulpes). I say our fox because it seems we've always had one in our back woods. This is actually our new fox. There was another older fox who had caught the mange. He was suffering and so sad looking. I know he died because one of the neighbors said another neighbor's dog dragged a dead fox into their yard.

Our new fox is very handsome and struts confidently through the back yards giving the squirrels a run for their money. He caught one recently in our yard.

I felt badly because I had just thrown out some bread for the birds and two of the squirrels were feeding on it. Next thing I knew there was just one squirrel and I spotted the fox at a distance with a squirrel in his mouth. I was sad to lose one of our mischievous squirrels even if they did eat a hole in our screen door to steal peanuts that were in a basket in our kitchen. Nature is beautiful and sad at the same time.

But I'm happy to have a spry and healthy fox about. When I see him I sometimes think of the old fox and imagine he has sprung all shiny and new like a phoenix from all of our foxes past. That thought makes me happy.

Top photo from here.
Bottom photo our fox. (Need to get closer next time)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

And on the Topic of Princesses...

Great justification next time you feel the urge to do a little shoes shopping.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Embracing Princesses

My little one has fallen into the Princess phase in a big way. Yesterday she told me she dreamt that she danced with a prince and that she was a princess. She was so amazed and thrilled by her dream. She said "I made Cinderella's dream!" Poor Thomas, I think your little tank engine may have met it's match. I wonder how many more times I'll here, I dreamt about Thomas?

I guess I better start embracing everything Princess because I think I'm going to be living with all the trappings for awhile to come. I have watched Cinderella a gazillion times lately and try to keep the groans to a minimum when she asks for it.

I have to say it beats Sleeping Beauty which I think is just terrifying. Not to mention I kept calling Sleeping Beauty (aka Briar Rose/Aurora) Cinderella through most of the movie when we first watched it together. I finally realized I was mixing up movies when I saw the witch had horns. I was thinking where is the mirror and poison apple. I was combining Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White. Argh! I have finally gotten my Disney Princesses straight.

And while I'm not a huge fan of the whole Princess thing, I ran out Christmas Eve to buy her one more gift because I felt there was nothing that had wow factor under the tree. (Too many Sight Word Flash Cards and socks!)

I brought home a huge box with 3 princess outfits in it. It was the right move. She loved it and continues to love it. Now she puts the outfits on and calls out to me "Guess who's here?" When I come to look and say Cinderella, Arial or Bell depending on the costume. She laughs, lifts the dress to show me her underwear and says  "No it's me, look underwear!" When I asked what does underwear have to do with it? She enlightened me "Princesses don't wear underwear!"

Who knew? Those saucy little Disney princesses.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Want ... a Teepee

A teepee...probably not the most practical possession I have ever coveted. Seriously, unless you're a Plains Indian you can't really say you need a teepee but I have always loved them. We had a wooden one in my kindergarten class and there was always a wait to get in. I used to draw them as a kid and I still have a little red plastic one from one of our childhood figurine play sets sitting on my desk.

Cowboys and Indians were a big thing when I was a kid. It was before the politically correct term Native Americans took over. We used to find "Indian rocks" at the beach which you could wet and apply as war paint. Then we would run around making whooping cries. I always preferred being an Indian to a cowboy, even if it meant getting captured and tied to a tree. Yes, definitely more fun to be an Indian.

What do cowboys sleep in? Certainly nothing as cool as a teepee. Some day I'm going to indulge my inner Indian and have one of my own.

Top photo - Child's tee pee available from House in Habitat
Second photo - Kate Moss wedding
Third photo - The real deal from Oh, Pioneer
Fourth Photo - Lady Mary Charteris wedding

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wishing for Some Real Snow

Yes, I know it's a pain for getting around but it's also beautiful. I would love to go sledding with the little one this year. Come on January act like the winter month you are!

Photos borrowed from two awesome tumblr accounts A Well Traveled Woman and  The Gifts of Life

Friday, January 4, 2013

What's in a Fortune?

Chinese take out meant less cooking yesterday and provided some reinforcement for my New Year's resolutions.
No, my resolutions certainly don't include eating more egg rolls but my fortune cookies touched on them. Yes, that's cookies plural which will not help with my resolution to weigh less at years end.

Here's what they said below. Synchronicity at work.
Cookie # 1:
Utilize what you have been given.
Cookie # 2:
The simplification of daily life is one of the steps to inner peace.

Fortune cookie image from 2 Stews. Check out their neat personalized fortune tutorial.

Where I'm Living at the Moment

I've been spending the last couple of days on the Channel Islands at least in my minds eye. Thanks to my literary resolution and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. I'm looking out at the sea from the high cliffs enjoying the salt air and wild flowers. Fear of heights aside I think I would enjoy roaming this little English Isle.

I was looking for actual images and stumbled upon these paintings by Renoir. Turns out he spent time painting on the island. These are two of the canvases he produced. It's nice how reading something leads you to find something else which is a major theme in the book.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Less is More?

Is it? Well I'm going to try and answer that for myself this year. I know I'll never be a minimalist. I think I sort of tried that once and failed. I love the idea and also looking at minimalist spaces, but honestly it's not my natural aesthetic. On the other hand, I dislike clutter and it haunts me when it starts forming around me.

So while I won't be living in an empty white space anytime soon, I'm committed to losing the clutter this year.  Step one enjoy and use what I already have. Step two lots of bags for the salvation army. My goal is to get rid of 365 things I don't need or use anymore this year. Step three and probably the hardest, stop adding new stuff to the mix. That means no unnecessary shopping. Think before you buy and realize you can enjoy things without having to own them.

Three steps that should be pretty easy. We'll see. I'll be commenting on my progress on the big 365 throughout the year.

Does anyone else have plans to lighten up in 2013?

The photo was saved from tumbler over a year ago I think from Brown Dress with White Polka Dots.

Starting with Potato Peel Pie

As part of my resolution to finish 13 books this year, I am revisiting a book I started more than three years ago and never finished. I'm not sure why I put The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society down. I found the subject matter interesting and it was a pleasant read. Maybe it didn't fully grab me at the time. More likely it was some combination of having a very young child, a house that needed lots of fixing and starting a job that left me exhausted all the time.

The house still needs fixing and life continues to be busy. My daughter is now learning to read (time flies), so I'm setting aside time each day to read with my daughter and also determined to make time for my own literary endeavors. Now that I've restarted The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, I'm thoroughly enjoying this look into both post war England and the occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII. The book is at the same time an exploration of what books speak to us, how they can open us up to new ways of seeing and also sustain us in difficult times. Not a bad first choice for my 2013 baker's dozen.

What books have you abandoned only to come back to?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reading Room #2: A New Years Resolution

This beautiful nook tucked away in the Paris skyline would be a perfect setting for reading Le Figaro or one of the many other French newspapers. Guess which one would depend on your political bent.

I personally have a lot of reading ahead of me this year if New Years resolutions are to be kept. My resolution plans are a bit too complicated (in a good way) to be explained fully here. Let's just say, they were going to include 12 groups of 12, but I'm making it a bakers dozen in honor of Lucky 13. So there are 13 groups of 13. I'll share more on this during the year.

I will say that one of the 13 groups is comprised of books. It is my goal to finish a book per month plus one, to equal 13 by years end. Shouldn't be too hard right? Better find my own personal reading nook.

Happy New Year!

Here's to a new year full of wonder, joy and good things for all. I'm so looking forward to what Lucky 13 brings. Welcome 2013. Let's go.