I am a pretty sarcastic, no-nonsense type of girl. But nothing puts a twinkle in my eye like good, honest, smart design. General Merriment is my happy place – where I share modern and sustainable design news.
Other things that make my happy, in no particular order:
- Cardigans. I tend to freak out when I’m too hot or cold. We’re all in better company when I dress in layers.
- Coffee. Particularly La Columbe - it’s local and delicious. And I feel smarter with a hot drink in my hand.
- Vases and vessels. I own more than I know what to do with, yet still accumulate more.
- Prep bowls. Everything is better mise en place.
- Rock concerts. Because nothing compares to the energy of a crowd belting out the lyrics together.
I currently live in New Jersey (thisclose to Philadelphia) with my husband, Tom, our daughter, Lucy, and our cats, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury.
It was just yesterday that I was craving some Botas for the peekaboo winter we’re having here on the East Coast. And now you’re taunting me with Ballet Flats? C’mon. Didn’t you hear Puxatawney Phil saw his shadow? Spring isn’t supposed to show up for a while yet… but with January ending on 60 degrees, I should probably invest in a pair of each. Just in case.
Alright, alright, alright. I’ve heard this song somewhere in the universe lately (probably on XPN) but my husband found this rad video to make me need it on my top 10 playlist. Butch Walker & the Black Widows’ “Synthesizers” is just a feel-good, let-go-of-your-cares tune about moving through the motions of hard times and changes these days. Who better to illustrate care-free than Mr. McConaughey “alter-ego,” David Wooderson? The video also commemorates the 20th anniversary of the cult film “Dazed & Confused” in all its glory.
Etsy find of the day: Artist Lauren King breathes life into vintage photographs by extending them with graphite on paper beyond the border. The sweet details of the desert landscape are carried on just far enough to portray a simple, yet dynamic, scene.
I’ve overwhelmed thinking of the year ahead so instead I’ll try to appreciate the year that has passed - adventures had, lessons learned, and accomplishments made. 2011 was a year of personal development for me, including my first solo trip (3 weeks in beautiful Scandinavia!), a new business venture (check out my latest - and favorite - project here), and I became an aunt (the easiest accomplishment ever). I could not have made it to 2012 without my ridiculously supportive husband and the never-ending energy of my toddler. So thank you, family!
What about the resolutions, you say? Can you really ever say, “I’m not making any resolutions this year”? It’s a new year, and everyone must have a few things they want to do differently, but I just want to survive. After looking back on last year’s resolutions - which I barely accomplished #1 and fell way short on the others, I think I’ll just try my best to get through 2012. I’ll be completing my degree (thesis - ugh) and getting my 2yr-old ready for nursery school (which includes a big girl bed and potty-training - UGH). So, yeah, 2012 will be a grin-and-bear-it sort of year, but I love a challenge.
For now, enjoy the View above! Typographic ice sculptures from Nicole Dextras :
“The Ice Typography series consists of three-dimensional words fabricated in ice placed outdoors that speak to how the viewer’s gaze frames and informs the landscape. The installations have varied from 8-foot high ice letters on the Yukon River to 18-inch high letters set in downtown Toronto. When the ice texts are installed on site, the temperature determines how long it will take for them to change state from solid to liquid. This phase of transition becomes symbolic of the interconnectedness of language and culture to the land as they are affected by time and by a constant shifting and transforming nature.” via LPP
Every holiday, I make batches of several kinds of cookies for friends and family. This year, I took it easy and kept it simple with only one, er, two things… a s’more and/or hot cocoa kit. This is one I put together for my nanny, who has been a lifesaver for me for the past year. I really could not do anything without her. I hope she enjoys it with her family this holiday! Here are some recipe links:
I tried out a recipe this year for graham crackers from my go-to kid-friendly cookbook, Le Petit Appetit. I’ve tested it a few times and like it better when it’s rolled out thicker, like 1/4”-3/8”, for a softer cracker. Also, I discovered the best way to cut butter into dry ingredients.
This was the first time I ever made marshmallows and it was frickin’ easy, but took a while. They are totally worth it.
I made mini chocolate bars by melting milk chocolate baking chips and pouring it into a parchment-lined cookie sheet. I smoothed it out a little but wanted some texture so I just made sure it was relatively even in thickness. Then I put it in the freezer for a few minutes, took it out while it was slightly soft to score it into pieces for the graham crackers, and popped it back in for another 5 minutes or so.
The hot cocoa is a non-hot version of this recipe (i.e. I left out the cayenne after burning my mouth during the test run). I also crushed up some candy canes for a sweet sprinkle.
I’m always so self-conscious giving homemade gifts away - will they like it? (Of course.) Does it seem cheap? (Of course.) But I love to make and craft and bake! Can you tell Tom and I have also been practicing our rhyming for a new book for Lucy? I’ll share that soon enough, my friends…
This fall term hasn’t left much time for this little ole’ blog, much less my family or myself. I finally handed over the last of my final projects yesterday and can finally get back to my life. I’m sad to not have offered you some much-needed guidance in the gift department like I did last year (see here, here, here, here, and, oh yeah, here, here, and here, too). However, I can, rather selfishly, show you what I’ll be asking from Santa this Christmas - because I’ve totally earned it. Besides, each are so super-practical that they should be considered “needs” instead of “wants.” It’s actually a pretty sad list now that I look at it… I did way better last year, but times are tough and I’ll take anything.
Colette Bream = Oeuf + Donna Wilson, yes? Yes. And I love it. Handmade in the US with Scottish lambswool, her playful shapes and muted colors are full of fun and whimsy. I’m pretty sure I need a few of these knitted pillows, and Lucy requires a fox tail and party hat for her evening dance parties.
My husband and I were recently reminiscing about Christmas traditions. He told me how much he loved his family’s Advent calendar, where each day they would hang a new ornament on a little tree. Now I grew up in the Catholic school system, and remembered lighting a candle a week on the little wreath, but had no idea what an Advent calendar was or what the purpose of them. I did a little bit of (last minute) research and threw one together last night for my family. And because I was late to the game, I admit to cheating on the first day… “Make a wreath” was first on the list and accomplished at the DesignSponge event last night.
Want to see how to pull off your own calendar? Click below for instructions.
Why are tiny things so adorable? I don’t know, but this Little Printer by Berg makes me happy. Get the news, a puzzle, some quotable social media, perhaps… or better yet, LISTS. I think it’s safe to say that I heart lists more than tiny things, and to find both in one product is rocking my world (my husband is shaking his head in agreement as he reads this). The beta version is coming in 2012, hopefully with a boat-load of print-friendly apps to support it. They’ve got two thumbs up here - godspeed, Berg!
I’m absolutely mad about Schoolhouse Electric’s new line of housewares and furnishings. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise from an already favorite lighting source. They’ve collaborated with Egg Press (yes, the letterpress company) and Adam Arnold, a Portland-based tailor, for a complete catalog of items for every room in the house. The collection is a blend of traditional and mid-century, with handcrafted quality and warmth. I’ve asked Santa for some new bedding and have my eye on the colorful cabin textures on this bed.