Monthly Archives: December 2019

The Quilt from Grandpa & Sharon’s House

I’m finally sharing the quilt that my mom picked for me at Grandpa and Sharon’s house when we were there last spring for the memorial service. I dont’t know the history of the quilt or who made it, but it’s created with various fabrics that look like they would have been clothes or recycled from other things. It’s a mix of florals, a weird mountain scene, some children’s fabric, and stripes. Nothing really matches or goes together, which is part of the charm.

When we got home with it, I washed it and held my breath the whole time. (You’re apparently not supposed to wash old quilts…who knew?) I used the delicate setting and let it air dry and came out fine. I figured I can’t have a blanket in the house that I’m not washing and I’d rather use this quilt than just store it in the closet. Since then, Presley barfed on the quilt and I had to wash it again, so I guess it’s just going to be a part of our lives…which is kind of the point, right?

 

Tagged , ,

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and happy holidays! I’ll be back later this week with a Christmas update. Until then, I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season! ❤️💚

The Christmas Rush is Here

This was the scene on Monday morning when I got up early to take Naoto to work and had a couple of hours to sit in the dark and gaze at the Christmas tree while listening to NPR. We had our last craft show of the season last weekend and Mondayc just felt good to have nothing to do for a moment before work. Not that I really have nothing to do–there’s plenty of shopping, shopping, wrapping, card writing, and more shopping to do. But it was nice to take a few moments and appreciate the tree and the lights and Presley’s purrs. Hopefully by the time this posts, my Christmas cards will be done and my book club book will be read and at least a few of the gifts have been wrapped or at least purchased…one can hope.

How are your holiday preparations coming?

Tagged , , ,

Christmas Post Office

christmas village post office, holiday village, ceramic post officeI’ve been wanting a Christmas village post office for awhile now. I have my Putz house village, and I’ve never seen a vintage paper post office before, so I told my mom and dad to keep an eye out for some vintage or new ceramic ones. Well, they found this perfect little jewel at a thrift shop for $2.50! They found the postman Santa last year. He might not be to scale but he fits right in!

I don’t know how vintage it is, but I think it’s charming and now I want a little collection of just random post offices (serendipitously found at thrift stores because I don’t need to stalk something else on eBay!) My mini post office collection of one is living on my desk so it stays safe from Presley. (She has taken to knocking things down at 4AM to get our attention.)

Tomorrow, I need to go to the actual, non-ceramic post office to buy some stamps for the church and to mail something…wish me luck!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

November Books

November was a weird reading month, with Halloween and Christmas book-ending a Midwestern coming-of-age story.

“The Giant Wisteria” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I love “The Yellow Wallpaper” so I was excited to read this one, which is sort of a ghost story inside a feminist story. I can’t say more without major spoilers, but there is an unwed mother and a haunted wisteria involved…

Carmilla by J Sheridan Le Fanu

One of our friends was going to see a movie based on this book and when he told me about it, I ordered it from the library and put down The Sundial to make time for vampires. Carmilla predates Dracula by a quarter of a century and is one of the first novels published with lesbian love scenes. It’s provocative and really good! Put it on your list for next Halloween!

The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter

This was our book club read, chosen because it was referenced in Not Without Laughter last month. It reminded me a lot of Anne of Green Gables (which to me, is the gold standard of old coming of age books.) Maybe that’s why I didn’t love this…the main character was too perfect. Anne is so lovable because she is flawed and has some very relateable embarrassing moments. Elnora is so perfect that she’s kind of boring, even though her adventures in the limberlost were interesting to read about. (I had no idea there used to be a lot of swampland in Indiana!) Oh and there’s a love triangle that reminds me of a Hallmark movie, which just does not work in the same way as it does on the Hallmark channel.

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck

This is a sweet Christmas short story. It’s a super quick read and it warms the heart more than a hot cup of cider.

A Kidnapped Santa Claus by L Frank Baum

This one is so weird, and I loved it. Santa gets kidnapped by some cave daemons and his virtues are tested. It’s a simple moral story but I really enjoyed it, especially the illustrations by Richard Rosenblum. I’ve never read The Wizard of Oz and now I kind of want to…

That’s all for November. So far, I haven’t read anything this month, even though I have a book of Christmas murder mysteries and our book club book to read…I’m two books away from finishing fifty books/stories this year, so I better get a move on so I can meet my goal!

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Spending the Yen: Christmas Stationery

I found this Christmas stationery last year at Loft and it was pretty pricey…like way more than I usually spend for stationery in Japan which has so many things for cheap. But Naoto slipped it into my basket and told me to buy it…it’s hard to argue with him in Japan. It’s really lovely washi paper with a nice texture that makes me wish I used a fountain pen more. And the tree is embossed with red and iridescent ink. I hope I can make time to send out a Christmas letter or two this season!

Have you started your Christmas (or other holiday) cards yet? I haven’t…hopefully next week after my last show of the season I can make time for some mail and other holiday cheer!

Tagged , , , ,

Oh Christmas Tree

hasegawa christmas tree, christmas tree, fresh christmas treeOur Christmas tree has been up for a week and I think it’s looking fine. I dialed back on some of the decorations this year–we’ll call this a minimalist Christmas–but I made sure to include all of my favorites. I think this year’s tree is a little skinnier than year’s past, but it’s full of charm and it’s perfect.

It was the first time Naoto picked out a tree by himself. Usually I go with him, but I wanted to get the Christmas stuff out and start decorating since Christmas is coming faster than a flying reindeer this year. I told him to make sure the tree was straight, didn’t have any big holes, and didn’t have any dry brown needles. He picked a winner! And, as you can tell from the video, it was so fun to be surprised with his pick. Now I just need to buy some gifts to wrap and put under the tree…

How is your holiday coming along?

 

The Last Plot 6 Post of the Decade

This is it…the final Plot 6 post of the decade…

Our plot went out with a whimper this year…what is it about September that makes me lose interest in gardening? Well, this year, I think it was because we had kind of a mediocre tomato harvest (and you know I’m really just all about the tomatoes.) Plus, job searching and starting took up a lot of my free time. Anyway…we let the garden die……but not before we harvested a nice little batch of teeny carrots. These guys made it through several freezes and the first couple of snows, so I was just glad to have something to pick! The carrots are designed to be sort of stumpy, but I think maybe these are small for even the stumpy size. They’re pretty tasty though! I planted them among the tomatoes and then never thinned them as directed, so that could explain things. Here’s our plot all put to bed for the season. See you next spring, buddy!

Tagged , , , ,

Thanksgiving 2019

Thanksgiving seems like a really long time ago…I feel like I’ve already been swept into Christmas without a minute to catch up. I feel like with Thanksgiving being so late this year, the rush to start Christmas mode was really strong. We always get our tree right after Thanksgiving, so that didn’t really change, it just felt more hurried.We had a craft show on Small Business Saturday, so that sucked up some time, but I have to say, this is the first year in eleven years that I didn’t work on Black Friday and it was heaven! My parents stayed for part of Friday and we all went to Ikea together and it was just nice to relax with them and not be “on” at a store. (For many reasons, being “on” at a craft show is so much less exhausting.)

Anyway, Thanksgiving was small and lovely like always. This year, Naoto cooked a turkey breast in the crock pot and he really liked that. He felt less stressed, and we had fewer leftovers, which is great. I know Thanksgiving leftovers are a thing but I personally hate eating the same kind of thing over and over again and we’re really trying to lower our food waste, so fewer leftovers are a good thing around here.

I set the table kind of the same way as I have been, with vintage plates and books and a few little thrifted things. I didn’t even make place cards this year! I enjoy setting the table and making place cards but also, I enjoy doing other things, so I’m trying to put less pressure on myself to do all the things when it’s not always necessary. Sometimes work and craft show prep takes over. It was my mom’s first visit to Ikea and I think she enjoyed it, even though she didn’t find any curtains for her living room. I was a little bit worried about going out on Black Friday, but Ikea was pretty tame…a good day for trying out all the chairs and couches! Now, onto Christmas…

We are hosting a little party tonight after Forest Park’s Holiday Walk so after work, I have to finish cleaning for that…as busy as it feels today, I’m glad we are hosting something because it forced me not to drag out the decorating. (I never really finished decorating for Halloween because there was no deadline. I didn’t want that to happen with Christmas.) It’s just a low-key affair with some local friends and Trader Joe’s snacks and maybe a fancy punch…I can’t wait.

Have a good weekend!

Tagged , , , , ,

Hallmark Christmas Movie BINGO

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year! Hallmark Christmas Movies are running full-time, filling my tv, my home…my heart with g-rated, pure-as-snow Christmas cheer. I think I’ve mentioned before how addicting these movies are for me during the holiday months. I can’t stop watching, even though they’re all pretty formulaic and predictable and they are pretty…traditional. No one is getting tipsy at the holiday parties. (Honestly, I’m not even sure if the eggnog is spiked.) And no one is having any premarital shenanigans, no-siree. These movies are so innocent, there’s rarely a kiss before the couples are committed. All that said, I’m pretty cynical and even so, I find these movies so comforting and they’re a cozy background show to have on during decorating and holiday card writing.

It’s the tenth anniversary of Countdown to Christmas this year, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites in case anyone out there is watching or is tempted to watch. It was very hard to narrow it down, and I’m already feeling guilty for leaving Mariah Carey’s movie off the list, so maybe there will be a follow-up to this post during the season… My all-time favorite Hallmark Movie is A Very Merry Mix-Up with Alicia Witt. I think this was her first Hallmark Christmas Movie (in 2013) and she’s gone on to make one every year since. I like the story on this one: a woman goes to meet her fiancé’s family and accidentally ends up at the wrong house, but soon discovers how right the house really is. It’s basically one giant misunderstanding that leads to a cute, but predictable outcome. I like the chemistry between the leads and the chemistry with his family. This movie also has the ultimate evil boyfriend. (In case you don’t know, a typical Hallmark trope is to have a woman in a relationship with a man who clearly doesn’t value her or care about Christmas…usually he’s a businessman who only cares about money. Sometimes the roles are reversed and the woman is the cold-hearted Christmas hater…you know, for variety.) Christmas with Holly is on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel where the movies are a little more family oriented, but almost always have a love story too. Holly’s mom passed away and she has stopped talking and is being raised by her three (unprepared) uncles. One owns a coffee shop and he meets a toy shop owner and magic happens. (Not real magic…Christmas magic.) It’s sort of a modernized Three Men and a Baby, but with younger guys and a little girl. It’s a really sweet movie. The Christmas Card was kind of my first Hallmark Christmas movie. (It was made in 2006.) Faith, a woman from a small town, writes to a random solider, Cody, in Afghanistan. He is so moved by her letter and charmed by her stories of the town that he finds the town and stops to visit when he’s on leave after a tragedy in Afghanistan. They meet (randomly at a diner where they order the exact same meal involving extra crispy curly fries.) Cody ends up staying with Faith and her family–there’s an Army connection with Faith’s dad who is played by the loveable Ed Asner–and of course, they all fall in love. But the road to happiness is blocked by Faith’s boyfriend/fiancé (Skipper from Sex and the City!) who seriously couldn’t be more wrong for her. Ed Asner does his share of meddling to help Faith realize who she really should be marrying. I watch it every year. I haven’t been crazy about many of the newer Hallmark movies, but this one from 2017 was a winner for me. Holly is “Miss Christmas,” the person who chooses the Christmas tree for the “Radcliffe Center” in Chicago. Her search takes her to Claus, Wisconsin to answer a letter from a boy offering up his family’s tree. The boy happens to have a handsome single father and the family is recovering from the death of a close loved one. Who better to turn those sad hearts around than Miss Christmas? There are baking montages, ugly Christmas sweaters, a couple of misunderstandings, and lots of Christmas cheer in this one. Oh, and I really like the little boy–child actors in these movies can be…precocious–Joey is just precocious enough. And the grandpa…he’s punny. And finally, The Nine Lives of Christmas. Presley and I look forward to this one every year. What do you get when you mix a busy veterinarian student with a scarred, I’ll-always-be-a-bachelor firefighter, two cats, and an old house? A purr-fect Hallmark Christmas movie. This one has a shallow, evil girlfriend, a meddling sister, and a wise fire chief.

I am working my way through this season’s new movies. I’ll report back if there are any stand-outs in the new season.

I made a simple Hallmark Christmas Movie BINGO based on my years of watching these movies. click here if you want to play! You can print the cards or play online. (New cards can be refreshed by clicking at the top.) Let me know if I should add some more tropes…I know there are plenty I missed!

I’d love to know if you watch the Hallmark movies during the holidays. Which one is your favorite?

I’m off to decorate the tree! Everything feels so rushed this season with Thanksgiving being so late but I’m determined to be done tomorrow so we can enjoy as much of the lights and decorations as possible. Three cheers for Christmas lights (and silly movies) to get us through the darkest days of winter!

 

 

Tagged , , , , ,