Martha Thinks

Monday, December 24, 2012

Simple Cheer

Christmas is hard, it feels like a chore sometimes.  The opposite of the way it should feel.  It's so focused on the 48 hours between December 24-25 and the gathering and baking and shopping and waiting and's always a goal for me to try and slow it down. 

I felt that it didn't happen this year, that I just got caught up with work and stuff and didn't spend much time in church and just whoosh was missing the holiday spirit!  Sometimes my camera has to remind me that this is not true.  I had a casual cookie night with my friends Jenny and Pam.

Jenny is not a baker but this night she learned how to make mint swirl cookies.
Definitely some holiday spirit there.

And we got the tree a little later than usual, December 22nd, but that's ok, right?  It's here!
And the brothers worked on it together.

And to make room for the tree, the kitchen table got moved perpendicular to the kitchen island making for tight quarters but in fact, I must recognize how handy it is as a gift wrapping station!  And seeing my 11 year old's wobbly wrapped gift and seeing him try to peel the sticky off the bow...fills my heart right up.

And finally and most precious are these bears.  I found a terrific deal on cyber-Monday on Build-a-Bear's.  I bought a bunch of them for Toys-for-Tots.  Then I went to the terrific site and found a woman who handknits bear England.  They arrived today, Christmas Eve.  She apologized for the delay, coffee was spilled on some sweaters and she would rush to replace them with the promise that the rest of the sweaters would be shipped quickly.  In another lesson to have patience and accept what you cannot change, they did not arrive in time for Toys-for-Tots giveaway this year. 

However, it has inspired me to not just focus on the 48 hours in December, but to give these bears out to those in need all year long and to try and keep Christmas in my heart...even in June.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Magic of Slipcovers

I slipcover everything.  Or rather I hire this wonderful, artistic man to do it for me.  He is a wonder with fabric.  I think once I got the hang of 3 sons and the mess and the spills and knowing that I wanted a more casual house both in temperment (yes, you can eat on the couch) and in style - I realized being able to wash "the couch" was more fiscally conservative than replacing it all the time!

Not saying that I have not paid as much for fabric as a new piece of furniture would cost.  But the truth is I rarely buy a new piece of furniture.  I am a craigslister.  There, I said it.  I get the items for nearly free or a  fraction of what they would cost.  I am very picky and this is the only "fabric" item I have purchased because I know there are plenty of warnings about yucky bugs, etc.  But this came from a very clean home and then I had it cleaned.  I could not have even purchased the ottoman for what I paid for the set.

Then I took myself to Zimmans Fabric in Lynn and tried to keep it together mentally...
(if you have ever been to Zimmans, you know what I mean.  More enticing, beautiful, printed, embroidered, silk, linen, velvet and cotton fabric than you can wrap your brain around)
 staring at my notebook and getting help from the wonderful Tatiana who directed me to the solid gray linens.  I found this pretty blue/gray patterned fabric for the top of the ottoman and the pillows.  That is the other thing about slipcovers.  You are your own designer and you can get exactly what you want.

This rattan chair - eh - doesn't really "go" with the rest of the room, perhaps, but it has lots of sentimental value and I paid LOTS of money for it 10 years ago.  (w-a-y more than what it's sitting next to!)  I had the space in my luxurious new bedroom and we had enough fabric, so those cushions (formerly blue and white) were also slipcovered.  A little pillow, a little throw, a little wine, a little snow, a good movie.
See you in March.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holidays Windows

Take that out Macy's...I have seen lovely windows that just might compete with yours.   Newburyport has two official shopping nights, last week on December 7th and this week on December 14th. 

All of the shops had fun things to eat and drink.

The weather was drizzly but that did not stop the crowd.  Some of my favorite stores were so crowded that it was elbow to elbow!  Good for vendors.

Whether by nudging from the Chamber of Commerce or a healthy spirit of competition, one window outdid the next.  They were all so layered that it was a treat to take a minute and check out each one.

Red and white, classic Christmas.

Perhaps the most favored store on State St. by me and all I know.  Flukes and Finds.  Fun treasures and furniture, vintage and repurposed, I don't think I have ever walked out of there with nothing in hand.

A pink tree glows through the Flukes & Finds window.  Now I want a pink tree.

And a beautifully decorated clocktower stands magestic always but glows especially bright this Christmas.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 3, 2012

Paper Bag Method

Did you ever try this?  So simple I wish I had known it would work years ago.  I just put about 1/2 cup of (unpopped) popcorn in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of oil and some sea salt.  Give it a swirl and dump into a brown paper lunchbag.  Fold the top over a couple of times.  The tricky part is to know exactly when to take it out and that will vary according to your microwave.  Best bet is not to wait until the popping is over.

By the know on that Bravo show "The Actor's Studio" when at the end the question is asked "which sound or noise do you like the most?"  I always think of popcorn popping.  Just love it.. 
Posted by Picasa