This little white pine grew - crowded among a handful of sister saplings - for the last six years, in our front yard. It's totally skinny, and looks as if it's missing a whole row of branches in the middle, but it is now merrily adorned, beautifully lit, and already very much loved. Our faerie is happily hugging that bare spot in the middle (the top is too weak to hold her weight) and now our little tree looks down-right cheery.
The girl put every single ornament we have onto two branches. We let her go for it, Steve and I taking turns at handing them to her, and oohing and aahing as she so-very-carefully put each one on. After she was tucked into bed last night I spread them out a bit so that the rest of the tree might share in the decoration-love.
I've long since loved the Charlie Brownesque tree, and this year I think we've started a new tradition of harvesting our own, right from the front yard.
On this the longest day of the year, I hope that you're able to spend your time basking in the gifts of summer and celebrating the beauty of life all around you.
We'll be heading out to our favorite canyon for a dinner-time picnic. And we'll be listening to this... really, really loud.
(insert proper pronoun above)
Happy Valentine's Day! May your day be filled with self-love and maybe a little dark chocolate, too.
We're celebrating many things around here these days. A new year and with it new beginnings, new aspirations and new life. As you can see, our first seedlings are up!
We have a seed planting ritual every winter solstice. Here in the Rockies, we like to get a good and early start on our seedlings so that when May rolls around our plants are big, hearty and ready for life outside. We typically only start our chiles this early, as they take a few weeks to germinate (the tomatoes come next, in February), but as part of our solstice planting ritual we also usually plant our two favorite greens: chard and kale.
How it plays out varies depending on the year, but we typically gather with loved ones for a merry solstice evening with wine, good food and candles. Steve prepares a tray with soil and we invite our guests to participate in the first official planting of the coming summer's garden. This is an auspicious time to set personal intentions for the new year as each seed is planted. One's intentions can be silently planted or shared out loud as the seeds are passed from hand to hand around the room.
The trays are placed in our basement nursery, complete with heated sprouting mats and grow lights. These flats of kale and chard will soon find their home in the cold frame in the backyard, which means our first taste of spring is just a few weeks away.
I love this ritual and it's so very affirming to see beautiful green spouts emerging from the dark, damp soil - as if each person's intention, wish, prayer, goal and very spirit is rising toward the sun.
Zinnia loves it too. She's been talking about seeds for days now. She goes through the steps as she tells me what she's been doing wtih Dada in the basement. "Eeeeddss, wawa" (seeds, water) she'll say as she pokes her fingers into imaginary dirt while telling me her story. "Gow BIG" (grow big) she continues, pointing up high. Her face fills with such wonder as she describes the process of seeds becoming plants.
I can't help but wonder what she wished for as she planted her seeds.
Happy twenty twelve everyone! May all of your intentions for the coming year sprout and bring forth a bounty of goodness.
We have been working on a little kitchen remodel around here. Steve and I found this handmade piece at a flea market, and while it had great potential, it was in pretty bad shape. I knew with a little TLC and elbow grease we could transform it into something beautiful, so it came home with us and we've been working on it for the last two months.
Steve spent a long time removing old paint, sanding and installing a shelf on the inside, then turned it over to me. It's amazing what a few fresh coats of paint can do, isn't it? I've fallen in love with this Araucana Teal from Martha stewart. (We bought a full gallon so I'm predicting more pops of this color showing up around the house eventually.)
One of the most challenging pieces of the remodel was figuring out how to represent the two stove top burners. Initially I tried painting on black circles, but quickly discovered that I had neither the patience nor the hand stability to pull off perfect black circles. After more sanding and a fresh coat of white over my mistake I found myself wandering the aisles of our local hardware store (three days before Christmas). The solution came from two cookie tin lids that we spray painted silver. The remodel was completed with a pair of knobs to control the burners, a set of curtains, matching buckets and some new, thrifted and gifted dishes and accessories.
This corner of our dining area has been transformed by this new little kitchen, along with the addition of some new art from dear friends. I absolutely love how it turned out. In fact, I wish I could cook in this kitchen myself.
I can't say that this little project was cheaper (than a store bought kitchen) due to our DIY efforts. But, as with anything we set out to make ourselves, money is not the only motivator. It's the process. The rhythm and meditation of sanding. It's the daydreams that visit as we paint, sew and create along with the anticipation of gifting that motivates and encourages our work.
Seeing Zinnia's eyes light up when she saw her kitchen, tucked under the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree made our efforts so very worth while. As she moved in for a closer look and pulled the curtain back she exclaimed, "Wooooww!" And we knew we'd done good.
Have I mentioned that I HAVE A NEW CAMERA? A new camera that I love? From a husband that I'm crazy about? Have you read that here yet?
I'm excited. Can you tell? Stevie really pulled off a surpirse with that one. We'd agreed to not really exchange gifts this year - just small stocking stuffers - so that our energy could be focused on Zinnia. I was speechless as I unwrapped the Nikon lens cap that was neatly tucked in my stocking. Wowza. My man did good.
I have a lot to learn about this little Nikon. It's been twenty (ahem...) years since my high school photography class. I've always, always loved taking pictures but I've never really had the proper gear. Well as soon as I refresh myself on all this f-stop-shutter-speed-ISO business I'll be set, I tell you. Set.
In the meantime I'm taking tons of pictures (um, like 1,000 in the last three days), fiddling with the dials and buttons on my little D5100 and finding tutorials online.
Of course, Pinterest is helping immensly. This clever little chart can be found here.
I'm also lucky to have a pretty patient model. There's only been a few times that she has tried to grab the camera from my hands yelling "all done! all done Mama!" while shoving a book in my face.
Okay Zinnia, let's go read Brown bear, brown bear. Again.
Thankful. Smiling. Laughing. Appreciating. Adoring.
Loving. Holding. Remembering. Sharing.
Here's seven little thingsthat lit me up during Christmas.
:: that look, hugged by aunt Tammy's knits
:: brown-eyed girls
:: curled up and cozy
:: these two are pure love (have you heard me say that before?)
:: best. husband. ever.
:: notice anything different? I GOT A NEW CAMERA!!!
What simple little things are you loving today?
On this the longest night, as we celebrate the return of the light, we also give thanks that you are in our lives.
May you all be embraced with love, warmth and light as we celebrate our many gifts, among family and friends.
Signing off of this space for a few days to be present with all the magic and merry-making, and most importantly, to love-up some family.
Back next week!