Category Archives: Merriment

Merry (Belated) Christmas, From Us to YouDecember 30, 2013

This has been the longest holiday celebration we’ve ever had – almost a week full of dinners and family and long visits. The season was made longer by an ambitious Advent calendar and plenty of handmade gifts (like this, this, thisthis, and this – yes, there were plenty more not documented). I’m not complaining – we certainly made the most of our last one-child Christmas. While we wind down, I wanted to share my family’s holiday video (in lieu of cards). Catch a peak at my huge belly, some Bowie cat, and our humble tree decor. Many thanks to my husband for putting this together… and revising it to include some my favorite ornaments.

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A Simple Cookie BasketDecember 20, 2013

Yesterday I posted this little project to Instagram. It was so simple (and delicious), I thought I’d share the recipe and how-to for you last-minute gifters like me.

  • Chocolate peppermint cookies: I’ve been making this Martha recipe for years, and they’ve become my most requested recipe. Lucy helped by having fun smashing candy canes.
  • Paper plate baskets: I used baker’s twine in place of washi tape and it holds together just fine.
  • Final touches were bits and bobs from around the house: unbleached parchment paper, plain tags, and some greens cut from our Christmas tree.

I even got to making some more with Lucy last night, though we dressed hers up with some watercolors, pretty ribbon, and tissue paper (we used sandwich bags for her to package the cookies). With our baked goods in the freezer, we can put together a cookie basket when she’s ready to gift.

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Heath Holiday 2013December 17, 2013


Each year, I’ve pared down the clutter of holiday decor to make way for fresh-cut branches and simple ornaments here and there. However, perhaps a few new toys wouldn’t hurt, eh? Last year I was swooning over Schoolhouse Electric‘s German holiday folk decor (my favorite is available again this year!), and these wooden pyramids from Heath Ceramics continue my desire to start collecting. I wasn’t sure what I loved so much about it last year, but I started to think about why I could validate my attraction even further…

Despite both my maternal and paternal grandmothers coming from different cultures and backgrounds (Grandma was a Philly gal born in Belfast and Mom-mom was a Polish girl from New England), I remember lingering on some folksy holiday decor in both of their homes. Each of them also had great respect for items of quality. So it is no surprise that I became an uber fan of Heath Ceramics and most everything they offer, especially these new additions to their classic holiday collection:

“Our hand-crafted wooden holiday decorations are made by a cooperative of artisans in the town of Seiffen, Germany, known as “toy village,” where woodworking has been a part of the local trade for hundreds of years. These pyramids continue a centuries-old tradition of portraying various winter country scenes that celebrate the season. Heat from the candles rises, causing the propeller to spin for a fun and quaint centerpiece.”

Of course, they will always remind me of Cousin Eddie, but that only makes it better.

 1. Deers & Large Tree Pyramid | 2. Mini Shepard Pyramid | and see more here.

Images & quote from Heath Ceramics.

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A Rustic, French-Inspired Bridal ShowerMay 21, 2013

A few weeks ago, I co-hosted a bridal shower for my sister-in-law Beth. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of weddings and all the hoopla that goes along with it, but I really wanted to help host a special and unique event for Beth. She’s helped me so much with watching Lucy and being a big sister when I needed one most. She’s literally one of the nicest people on the face of the earth. Seriously, like, all the time. It’s really annoying, but I love her anyway…

What started as a semi-potluck brunch somehow escalated into a French-themed cocktail party. Rightly so, I’ll admit, because Beth has always had a soft spot for la Paris ever since a trip post-high-school. Also, I’m pretty sure a cocktail party is what her extremely classy mother would have put together for either of her daughters’ bridal showers. So I pushed my sappy wedding critic aside, and pulled out my resources to help my fellow (five!) bridesmaids put together an event so very… Beth. It was fun yet elegant and the food exceeded my (already high) expectations. I just had to share the results.

In the wondrous age of social media, the five of us – hailing from New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida – were able to keep in touch throughout the preceding months. We kept a private Facebook page to keep in touch, share documents, and vote on menu items, craft ideas, etc. Pinterest was also quite handy to throw a bunch of ideas together and see what worked best.

With so many crafty ladies, I arranged a craft day where I literally pulled out any and every tidbit of ribbon, tissue, and paper to assemble a resourceful (aka free) arrangement of decor. Amidst tissue poufs and tassels to paper- and ribbon-wrapped glass vessels, we reminisced about our own weddings – the good and the bad. (Mine was definitely allowing my mother to “just pick up some flowers” for the church. I’m glad I have a sense of humor because multi-colored mums on a kelly green carpet might throw another bride into a fit of tears.) The arrangements were easy as pie to assemble before the event – a fellow bridesmaid and I cut fresh, local cherry blossoms and forsythia in bloom to fill the vessels, lemons gave a pop of yellow about the place, and I drew up some pretty labels to identify the French menu and cocktails.

The food was amazing! I was utterly impressed with not only the presentation and quality, but the custom menu so perfectly created. Justin Lingl from Root Catering Co. had spent time in rural France teaching English (and gathering culinary inspiration) so he was more than happy (and experienced) to craft a cocktail party menu for us. Baked goat cheese dip with handmade herb crackers, gougeres, crostini with olive and asparagus tapenades, veggie tartlets, and freshly broiled croque monsieurs and forestieres – each equally delicious. He paired the dishes with  French-inspired, yet crowd-friendly, cocktails (and mocktails) including a basil lemonade, mojito, and a few Kir Royale varieties.


For dessert, Justin recommended his friend Tish Smith, owner of Foam Floaterie, an ice-cream and soda shop in Philadelphia with delicious and experimental pairings of homemade goods. Despite my own fondness for ice cream and floats, she is quite adept with all manners of baking and suggested a more authentic French cookie platter – citrusy madeleines, meringues topped with chocolate and sea salt, and limoncello macaroons. With our bellies full of Root Catering’s savory dishes, I was surprised so many had room for dessert – those cookies flew off the plate so fast, I barely had time to snap a photo! The perfect end of the evening was a delivery of fresh brews from my family’s Harvest Coffee Roastery.

The shower was so nice and simple. We used what we had and put on a great show. Beth loved it so much, she’ll be borrowing some of the ideas for the wedding itself – handwritten flags and markers, simple arrangements in pretty glassware… I’ll be sure to share photos after the big day next month!

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Belated Merry Holidays to You and Yours…January 7, 2013

I hope you each had a wonderful holiday, or in the least, survived. I was too busy doing next to nothing and loving it to wish you happy holidays from the Adjemians (that’s uh-GEM-ee-uhns, for the 98% that stumble on the name). Just kidding! After wrapping up my thesis on December 5th, I spent the holidays with some much-needed bonding time with family and friends. We even made a last-minute trip to New Hampshire to surprise a friend for his birthday on New Year’s Eve. I’m shocked at our spontaneity, and hope it’s a sign of things to come in 2013.

Here’s an obliging Instagram roundup of our holiday season:

  • Above: Foraging at my father’s house for wreaths + boughs
  • Top Row: Harvest Coffee with all the trimmings / Lucy gets a ” ‘tar” from Santa / Branch trees to add festivity to my sister-in-law’s hotel suite.
  • Middle Row: Tom carries the tree home from a local shop… / with a little help… / and ta-da!
  • Bottom Row: Pink snow bunny slumber / Snow couple + the photo-bomber / New Year’s Eve breakfast at the Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, NH
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A Very Lucy ChristmasNovember 13, 2012

What does that title mean, exactly? Well, if you even plan to name your child Lucy, beware that it probably means she will be both stubborn and silly. (Blame her.) So this Christmas, with a wiser look on the world, Miss Lucy will inevitably make a Christmas list that will make this mama cringe – princesses, glitter, pink, purple… yuck. I’d be hypocritical not to allow these things in my house, as I myself wore lace and fur as a toddler, worshiped Debbie Gibson at a fairly young age, and I turned out ok, I guess. However, with little pocket money and of minimalist aesthetic (sort of… I collect vessels and chairs like no tomorrow), we’ll make this fun, old-fashioned, family Christmas more pragmatic but seemingly bent toward the self-appointed princess of the house:

  1. Shoes: Kids need ’em, and she wears them out like their are her j-o-b. These botas are perfect for the winter and approved by kiddo for being pink and by mama for being grey. Win-win. And those Mary Janes ain’t too bad either…
  2. Body pillow: We transitioned her into the big girl bed with just a pillow to buffer a midnight fall. So far, so good, and this Colette Bream pillow is a perfect fit for her new room.
  3. Sewing kit: She’s only three, but she’s already interested in the domestic arts like her mum. I found this simply lovely Montessori-approved kit on Etsy, but think Lucy would rather go for something more challenging and colorful, like this vintage “Sew Many Animals” kit. The pun makes it worth it, right?
  4. Sleeping bag: I fully appreciate that she still naps, and would like to upgrade her nap mat at school for a nice cushy one from Anorak. It’s neither pink nor princess but, kissing rabbits? C’mon!
  5. Breakfast: This kid loves breakfast – particularly sausage and bacon. So perhaps some faux brunch to add to the kitchen? I’m getting tired of being served fake tea and pizza, anyway…

So despite having a Lucy, I think we’ve covered the silly, and the stubborn is quashed by amazing color and geometry. Gifts for this one will get harder, but I fully appreciate the naivety of a 3 year old for the moment.

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A Schoolhouse HolidayNovember 12, 2012

I’ve been oddly attracted to German folk art lately – in ceramics, embroidery, wooden objects, etc. (perhaps all the general store research I’ve been up to?) So I was happy to stumble upon Schoolhouse Electric Co.‘s assemblage of Dregano pieces in their holiday section. I grew up with little smokers like these around the house, though I never remember them being used. I also have waited years to find the perfect treetopper. It’s thisclose to being in a virtual cart and shipped to my house.

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A Modern ChristeningJune 12, 2012

My nephew celebrated both his birthday and his baptism this past weekend. I had tolled over an appropriate, yet modern, baptism gift for a boy. I’d originally set on a print from Sharon Montrose‘s “Babies” collection in The Animal Print Shop, but was short on time and cash. Instead, I conjured up my resourcefulness to make something simple and special. My newfound love of embroidery (fed by Chez Sucre Chez) led me to pull some old fabric scraps, a hoop, and leftover floss to make a small (5″ diameter) wall hanging for little Henry Oliver. The design was a repeat of Lucy’s baptism invitation, one of my favorites in the archives (see below the jump for more).

(more…)

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Gift ItOctober 7, 2011

I’ve just stumbled on Wantist, the ULTIMATE gift-giving guide. So ultimate that I’m not sure if I should go ahead with my gift guides like last year or just refer you to this site. Upon said stumbling, I scrolled through to find ideas for the upcoming holidays, and ended up finding more things for myself.

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What I MadeAugust 22, 2011

Two years ago this week I was 60 pounds heavier and the house was clean and quiet. Now I find myself slimmer, but only due to cleaning up and running after a “high energy child,” as my nanny puts it. My Lucy Bear is getting bigger and smarter everyday. So, of course, we need to celebrate her 2nd birthday in grand fashion! I spent the weekend scouring thrift shops for fun decorations and such, as well as finishing up a little project:

After seeing How to Make a Number Pinata on Oh Happy Day! I thought, I could do that! Furthermore, I had just taken down the tissue pouf mobile over her bed that was actually made from decorations from her 1st birthday. Being the resourceful craftsperson that I am, I turned 16 poufs (I’ve made more over the year for other occasions), into a pinata!

I simply disassembled the poufs, cut off the 2-3” edges that were already scalloped, and glued them on with a gluestick. And, yes, it was pretty simple, though quite time consuming.

Lucy approves, which is quite important. You have no idea how long it takes for this kid to dress herself, pick out what to eat, or choose a bedtime book. She takes after her Mama… always wanting the best and never settling. It’s exhausting. I love the Wilco tee, hot pink short-shorts, and Crocs she put together this morning. Style.

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