Doesn't this look like it would be delicious with some champagne on NY's Eve? Yum. Compliments of Sweet Paul.
Just a pretty, simple, purple amethyst ring from Plum 'n Stitch.
This cool modernist home in upstate New York belongs to an architect, his wife and their toddler daughter. Full article and more photos available here.
Why give your loved ones a boring photo of yourself in a Christmas sweater when you can swab your cheek and later present them with a bona fide portrait of your DNA? For $169 you or your friends/family can display your DNA in 25 different color options. This would probably not be a good gift option for the family member who's been on the wrong side of the law. Just sayin'...
Nilus Designs transformed a classic San Francisco Victorian into a beautiful, modern, sunny home (complete with hidden solar panels on the roof). The home was originally designed/built in 1878 for a judge. The 4,400 square foot home needed a ton of work since then, and you can read all about it in Dwell.
Pomme, a Brooklyn store, has a website chock full of the cutest kid items including (below) the toadstool nightlight, House Blocks, Chigo Bowling set, cardboard appliances, and insect mobile.
Zakka Life has a cute tutorial for making your own beautiful floating flowers from recycled magazine pages.
It's cold and windy and raining, so fondue sounds really good to me right now. I remember being so jazzed to go to the Melting Pot back in the day. Now you can make your very own authentic cheese fondue:
modified from about.com
1 lb shredded Gruyère (it says 1/2 lb gruyère and 1/2 lb Emmental, but I got lazy)
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp flour
pepper and nutmeg to taste
1 baguette, cut into cubes
1 apple (granny smith or some tart/sweet thing), cut into chunks
1 lb. cooked sausages, sliced thick
Toss cheese and flour together; set aside. Rub the inside of the pot with the cut side of the garlic clove. Pour wine into the pot and heat until warm, not boiling. Add the lemon juice. Add cheese by the handful to the wine, stirring constantly until melted and creamy. Add pepper and nutmeg to taste. Let the mixture come to a boil once and remove from heat. Set over flame so the fondue bubbles lightly. Spear the bread, apple, or sausage and dip in the fondue.
And, if you need a fondue pot, check out these sites:
Charities are really feeling the pinch this year. There are SO many great ones, but here are a few that do amazing things and could really use some help:
The Make A Wish Foundation, whose goal is to "grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with strength and joy".
Direct Relief International is a non-political, non-sectarian organization that provides assistance without regard to race, ethnicity, political or religious affiliation, gender or ability to pay. They provide medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people victimized by poverty, disaster and civil unrest at home (U.S.) and throughout 140 other countries in the world.
NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services), also known as Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, was established in 1976 to train and provide rescued dogs and donated puppies to assist people who are deaf or physically disabled in leading more independent lives at work, home and school. NEADS has trained way over 1,000 assistance dogs from all states.
Keep America Beautiful is an oldie but goodie. Formed in 1953, KAB engages individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. KAB is guided by the princples of education, individual responsibility, public-private partnerships and volunteer action. It uses education with hands-on stewardship to make America's communities cleaner, greener, safer and more livable.
Your Local Symphony Orchestra. All arts programs are feeling the squeeze right now, but symphonies have to compete against movies, video games, computers, you name it. Most orchestras have their own website with details about concert dates, music played, how to donate, bios of musicians and usually tickets can be ordered online. Even if you can't afford to make a donation, if you bought a symphony ticket instead of some movie tickets, you'd go a long way towards preserving your local culture. I personally am a fan of the really talented, but slowly fading Columbus Symphony. Special call out to the oboe section!!
Holiday decor is always way over the top (and that's the fun of it!) I'm just as guilty as the next person of purchasing nutcrackers and shiny ornaments and Santas and the whole enchilada. Here are some pretty photos of a pared-down, minimal holiday aesthetic.
Most of us have seen snowflake closeups before, but they're still pretty cool. These snowflake photos were taken by Kenneth Libbrecht of CalTech, using a specially-designed snowflake photomicroscope. They show real snow crystals that fell to earth in northern Ontario, Alaska, Vermont, the Michigan Upper Peninsula, and the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. From New Scientist.
The shop Bailey Doesn't Bark was created by NY artist Re Jin Lee. All are hand painted, signed and limited editions.
Simple, relaxing white interiors are showing up everywhere. I don't know how long they would last if you had a dog and kids and heavy entertaining habits, but they certainly are pretty to look at. Photos by Trine Thorsen / graphic exchange.
Am so looking forward to my family meal tonight at Chez Panisse. Opened in 1971 by super chef Alice Waters, the Berkeley restaurant serves a five-course fixed price menu that changes daily. She works with local organic farmers and ranchers to guarantee a steady supply of fresh, yummy food. If you're ever in the SF area, this is worth a trip to Berkeley.
Every year we make a gingerbread house. This year...not gonna happen. So, I'm going to be a bad mommy and let my kid decorate a virtual gingerbread house on this site. Very fun, although not as tasty.
These unusual crayons are made from mineral powders and soy wax, so they go on paper like pastels or paint. The shape is ideal for little hands and encourages the proper tripod grip for future writing. They come in lots of gorgeous colors.
Every year Pantone predicts a hot color. You're looking at 2009's which is Mimosa. I'm sure a bright happy color and memories of a delicious brunch cocktail might be in order for the next year.
Here's a holiday gift possibility...a great book! Here is a listing of the Top 10 Best Books of 2008 according to the NY Times Book Review.
Every year the SF Dining by Design showcases designer table arrangements and room settings for charity. The SF Gate article checks it out for ideas to try on holiday tables at home.
"These lovely blocks contain many carefully engraved illustrations of the equipment, training, and activities that a budding mad scientist will require, combined with a clever alphabetic introduction to the concept depicted." Each block begins as a pen and in drawing which is then laser engraved onto American maple. No toxic dyes or finishes. Alphabet block examples:
A - Appendages
B - Bioengineering
C - Caffeine
D - Dirigible
E - Experiment
F - Freeze ray
G - Goggles
H - Henchmen
I - Invention
J - Jargon
K - Potassium
L - Laser
Created by Xyclopa and available for $40
Fancy pretzel rods and marshmallows would make easy, inexpensive little holiday gifts. Joyful Abode shows you how.
Seattle artist Kate Endle creates darling collages...prices range from $25 - $800.