Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Pics up on Flickr

...finally posted a bunch of pics from Christmas. Click on the photos above to be taken to the Flickr Christmas set.

Not a Tofurkey

Our kitchen is a mostly-vegetarian kitchen. We periodically prepare fish & seafood, which qualifies us as a pescetarians (a local Providencian clued me in on this precise terminology). Chris isn't a vegetarian, but he never complains and rarely misses the chicken & beef.

But this year, for the first time ever, we hosted Christmas day for both of our families and decided to cater to the carnivoirs (...this time). Chris prepared a turkey--Puerto Rican style. Apparently it was quite tasty, but cleaning out the bird was a real turn-off. His technique: Adobo, Sazon, salt pork & olives, and a lot of love. With a side car of rum & coke (with limes).

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hambly Glass Ornaments

Sadly, we had to cancel our Christmas party that was scheduled for last week, due to a nasty cold that nested in our home. For 'parting gifts' for the guests, I had decorated a number of plain glass ornaments, using Hambly Screen Prints rub-ons (from the Mod Flowers and Dingbats & Robots line). We've decided to throw a New Years Eve party, so I'll give them out then. The Martha Stewart glass balls have a nice pearl to them, but I'm partial to the (6 for $1) glass cubes. Those robots are too cute.

This Past Week

This past week, because of Flasch's passing, a number of old friends from high school popped back in to chat. I haven't kept in regular contact with anyone (even friends) from Kirkwood, at least since after college. Then I headed off to Boston and then to New York (always being on the move every few years because of grad school), which made it difficult to maintain those ties. The fact that many friends got married, had children, and settled down much earlier, added to the distance as well. I still truly care about these 'friends of old', as odd as it might seem, and its been such a pleasure to get back in touch.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

In Memory of Flasch

(photo: Christmas concert at Plaza Frontenac: Flasch, me, Beth, Laura, & Karsee, 1992.)
Last night I received news that my choir teacher in high school, Karen Flaschar, has passed away. She died in an accident (a fall) and left behind two children that she had raised on her own. Flasch, as she was called by everyone, was an incredibly devoted teacher. And she was the coolest. After 4 years of choir classes, swing choir classes, chamber choir meetings, 2 musicals, and every possible free period where we would plant ourselves in her office (sometimes while she was teaching other classes), I had far more contact with Flasch than any other teacher in my entire schooling career. I guess my friends and I were Flasch-junkies. She was motherly to those she saw needed extra patience and friend-like to those she recognized as more mature. She put up with our foolishness and let us into her home and family. I was a bit on the 'righteous right' back in high-school, which couldn't have been further from the kind of person that Flasch was, but she never judged. I dropped by her class a few times the following year or so and she said the new classes just weren't like ours--none of the seniors had replaced us. Lame-ohs. But Flasch was always like that, she always made you feel like you were special (even if you probably weren't). I know Flasch went through hard times personally in later years, but she wrangled those kids class after class, year after year, putting up with non-existent basses and obnoxiously shrill first sopranos (I was an alto/second soprano). She retired in 2005 and I wish I had been there to honor her as she retired.

I'm sure that hers was a thankless job more often than not--still, she loved her work. I think she loved us too. We were probably awful to listen to, both in our singing and in the drama of our personal lives. But she never said so. I do remember one performance by the Chamber choir (junior or senior year)...we were performing a musical piece about Mary and a rose bush (or something like that) and somewhere in the middle of the song we came together (in a crescendo) with a perfectly blended chord. I remember her face when got to that section--and you could tell by her face that it was truly a beautiful sound. Maybe we were singing at a retirement home, or a mall, or on the red carpeted steps of the Fox, it didn't matter. She had brought something beautiful out of us--just a bunch of gawky kids and it was only for a few seconds. I'll never forget it. Flasch was the coolest.
Link to the Obituary Online Guestbook for Karen Flaschar.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Let it Snow

We're scheduled to get 3-6" of snow today. Both of us are home sick and miserable today. And yet, we just got this nice snow surprise! (These photos were taken through both the windows and the weather-proofing plastic. )

Willow, before we moved the train.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Calendar

Last month I picked up a calendar kit from my local scrapbook store (Right at Home). The calendar is a 'Countdown to Christmas' calendar, where each of 25 days is a doo-dad on a magnet & the magnets hang on a cookie tray (painted red with a thousand coats). Making the doo-dads on the magnets was fun (each is mounted on a painted chipboard shape). The papers & stickers are by Creative Imaginations and I love the Heidi Swapp chipboard title stickers.There were other things needed...sandpaper, Modge podge, pink/blue/green/white paints, a drill or 'Cropadile' to punch the holes in the tray, & instructions on how to use the font file in wordperfect, so it took me a while to pull it together. At least its hefty enough to last a few years. The paper ornaments may not enjoy the same fate.

Providence in Color, Part 2 (of 3)

Finally, Part 2 of the photos from my walk around the neighborhood the other day. The West End/Armory district was also featured in the ProJo recently. Note: Theresa (my landlord) in the photo.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Train

My parents shipped us my dad's old (HO size) Tyco train set. Immediately we spread the whole thing out on the floor and set it up. For a few days I tried to get it to work, but to no avail. Seems the engine had a broken wheel, so Jason (our landlord) took us to a train store where we picked up a new Amtrak engine...and after a few hours of sanding down the tracks (to clean off the corrosion?), we got it working. 
Our elaborate figure eight set-up (above) was a bit rickety. But I love the raised track in the center, so we might incorporate that into the final set-up. For now the train is on a simple oval around the tree (see the video below). I'm loving it! Time to set up the snow and the village...

We added a snow scene!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


A year ago, in the freezing cold, I dragged a few people down to BUST's Craftacular in Brooklyn to support the handmade/arts movement. The gymnasium-like place was completely packed and a bit suffocating. Luckily they had a bar attached to the craft room.

Last night I bribed Chris (with a trip to Haruki) into running through Craftland with me in downtown Providence. Such an improvement from Craftacular, Craftland is a single store filled with work from a variety of local artists. Manageable, spacious, and an attractive place to shop. I even got a "this place is nice" out of Chris. I know he'll be going back, which is a good thing, since Chris has volunteered to do the bulk of our holiday shopping this year (!) (he's very good at it) and I'm responsible for the cards, wrapping, & our homemade part of the gifts. But because I couldn't resist, we did pick up a few things last night and a set of note cards (for me, sort of). These were screen printed by Sarah Parrott. I picked them up because the design is overall simple and clean, but the trees are very intricate and delicate. Lovely.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Exploding Christmas Spirit

I've been meaning to put these pictures up all week but my to-do list has been out of control. Our Christmas tree is covered with ornaments handmade each year by friends and family, starting in 2001. That year, I was living with Anne & Katie near Fordham's campus. Not only was our nativity scene designed on a Light Bright, but we made paper ornaments with friends' photos and created painted clay/Playdoh ornaments. Later years included plastic beads ironed together in various shapes, personalized foam snow people, and sparkly snowball people. I'm not sure what this year's addition will be, but I'll try to wrangle people to contribute at our Christmas party later this month.  

Here are pictures of our tree and the Christmas spirit that exploded all over the house.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Shopping Handmade (a more serious shopping guide)

My last shopping guide wasn't really serious, so I'm being more serious (my forte) this time. Here are a few handmade goodies that are actually worth getting (as opposed to plastic stocking stuffers) for your shopping pleasure:

Branch Zip Tote $34 from Three Potato Four. Oddly enough, I like this tote because it would perfectly match the cloth napkins that Anne & Ashley bought us as a housewarming gift when we moved here. Not sure how they could be used together though. Maybe a picnic? (found through IndieFixx)

Not handmade, but over the summer, I almost bought these Folk Dinner Plates $36 by Thomas Paul at the Curiosity Shoppe. They were going to be for my mom, but they wouldn't really work with her kitchen & china. Still, they're lovely. (the Curiosity Shoppe also has the paper pinhole camera mentioned earlier, but for $25. A deal?)

Finally, I've been eyeing the prints sold at The Black Apple Etsy shop all year. When they popped up on Elsie Flannigan's blog (pic shown) I realized that a set of 4 would look even better than a single print. I'd choose a different set of 4 though. Each print is so expressive and charming without being cheesey. My favorites: the Pirate Girl, Little Enid, Mysterious Genevieve, and the Rock N Roll set of 2 prints. I considered buying the Rock N Roll set for our new niece who is due at the end of this month, but its probably too early. And buying something for someone else's wall is tricky. Home decor can be a very personal endeavor. All the prints are so cute!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Paper Ornaments

A few days ago, Design*Sponge posted a simple but pretty DIY paper ornament craft. I used fewer paper strips (than her example) on my first three, but they're perfect for the space above our tree. Simply cut (with scissors, a trimmer, an Exacto knife, or your teeth) various colored paper into 1" wide pairs of paper strips at various lengths (outside pair 11" long, middle pair 9", center 7") (or 9", 7", 5" or any other variation you might want to try). Line up the ends of the strips at one end, staple them together, then force the strips to stack at the other end, staple, and you're finished. I didn't have glitter paper to use on the middle/inside strips, so I covered a few strips with glitter glue. Then Willow flipped her tail on to the strips and spread the glue all over the couch. Just keep the paper away from your pet as the glue dries.  Skip the glitter for a quicker version. Variations on the shapes are easy to make as well--just eye-ball it. (Third pic: improvised from leftover paper).  Let me know if you try it!
Our front window (above) where we've set up the tree,
and (below) my variation on the ornament shape.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Providence in Color, Part 1 (of 3)

Even at the end of November, Providence is full of color. I took a walk around our neighborhood today and snapped these pics. 11/29/07. (Blogger's limited options for photo layouts = grrr.)