Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Door Prize!

If there's one thing I love, it's a door prize.  For a few years, we had a Door Prize Area near the front door of our house, where visitors were encouraged to choose an item (or several!) to take home.  These days, we just enjoy a bare wall where the DPA used to be, but that doesn't mean I love door prizes any less.  In Seattle, I was lucky enough to win this beautiful piece of original art by Lorena Siminovich from Chronicle Books:
I dare you to tell me that this isn't the most adorable thing you've ever seen!  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Went to Seattle for Six Days...

... and all I have to show for it are these four photos.  Despite the fact that I got to spend time with dear cousins and cherished friends, meet famous authors and hobnob with publishers, I only took my camera out three times.  And one of those times was to take pictures of fish.  Here you go:

With my friend and fellow Newbery committee mischief-maker, Ellen, during a reception at the Space Needle

Same reception, same fellow mischief-maker, with Elsworth on the observation deck!  Can't you see the lights of Seattle below?  Okay, imagine them.  Ellen was the first-ever Mary Poppins at Disney World.  She is totally Mary Poppinsy. 
Don't worry, I escaped the convention center long enough to walk through Pike Place Market.  I had to giggle at these little signs...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Member of the Household

I'd like to introduce our new bedside table, purchased at an antiques store last weekend.  The moment I saw it, I just knew it was meant to be.  And that notion was confirmed when I opened the top drawer and found a big zip-loc bag of antique wooden spools that came with the table.  ♥  We've been looking for a new bedside table for a long time, and we really don't need a lot of storage space.  Which is why this secret special feature is perfect for us:

It holds spools of thread!  Or finger puppets, if you're me.  Or cooked strands of spaghetti noodles, woven in between the pegs, if you're Karl.  Just kidding, I'm never letting him do that.  Also I'm never letting him stick one cooked elbow macaroni noodle onto each peg.  Kind of a shame, though, because they are the exact perfect size for elbows.  Or penne. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Seventeen Days In

 2013 is ticking away nicely; we're already over two weeks in!  At the Struckmeyer house, you can find us...
  • Reading Harry Potter aloud...  Karl reads, I knit-- it's perfect.  We're on book 4! 
  • Cooking up a storm (we're loving a curried butternut squash soup recipe from the January issue of Real Simple)
  • Looking forward to hosting houseguests over the weekend... They're from out of state, so of course a Wisconsin fish fry is in order!
  • Gleefully anticipating two very important birthday celebrations: our niece and goddaughter turns 2 on February 2nd-- I love a golden birthday-- and Karl's grandmother turns 99 on February 9th.  Maybe that's a platinum birthday? 
  • Picking out buttons together for a top-secret knitting project
  • Slowly but surely finding 1,000 things to get rid of this year
  • Loving the peeks of winter sunshine finding their way through our windows

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ten on Ten: January

Karl making breakfast
Salad and brownies ready to take to a friend's house tonight
Evidence of last night's activities
Swimming locker
Homemade stand-up desk
A little corner of my office
Working on a flannelboard set for Caps for Sale
View out my office window
My mom's new puppy came to visit!!!
Inside the back door of the library

More ten on ten here!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

One Thousand Things

A friend and I are each attempting to get rid of 1,000 items during 2013.  In an ambitious start, I have already identified 26 things that can go.  Just 974 more!  Honestly, I don't think it's going to be that hard. 
I won't bore you with all 1,000 things, but here are two little gems that have landed in the good-bye pile:

A student made this folded paper box for me when I taught in a small village in Alaska.  As if the hearts and magic-marker ribbon weren't enough, the inscription reads:
To: My special teacher Amanda
From: Your best student Andrea
She gave it to me with the little stitched smiling heart inside in 2002.  Darling?  Yes.  Worth hauling around for another 10 years?  Nope. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Miracle #3

I have never claimed to be a photographer.  Just keep that in mind, okay?  Because I am about to show you photographic evidence of Christmas Miracle #3, and you are going to be underwhelmed because I take kind of bad pictures.  But trust me.  In real life, these are amazing.
A few years ago, my mom and I picked up a super cute set of vintage glasses at the thrift store in her town.  The've got little etched stars all over them, and the original set had short glasses, tall glasses, and two shot glasses (just in case).  Of course we bought them all.  Karl and I love them and use them all the time.  Here's a photo of one of our kitchen shelves.  Remember: not a photographer. 

My mom was randomly telling her friend about the glasses a couple of weeks ago, and her friend- I am not making this up- said, "Oh, I bet I donated those.  My brother bought those for my mom at the PX when he was in the service.  I have more in the basement."  And she went down to the basement and brought up a big box brimming with what can only be described as a Christmas Miracle. 

I knew nothing about this, so I was surprised when we went home for Christmas and my mom handed me the box.  It held at least 20 more glasses, in different sizes and shapes, like this one:

And the piece de resistance... a matching cocktail shaker!

This is when I wish my photography skills were better, because then you could see how awesome this shaker truly is.  Little etched stars... thick glass... pure love.  Come over and I'll mix you up a cocktail in it! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Miracle #2

Karl and I went to my mom's house for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  It pretty much involved a lot of eating and lounging, which of course are the ingredients for the perfect holiday.  During one lounge session, I was reading a Real Simple magazine, and I came across this page:

"Ohmygosh we need those!" I may have shouted when I saw the upper right corner...
Need.  I even tore out the page so I could remember where to order them. 
When Karl and I got home on Christmas, there was a package waiting from my dear friend Caitrin (who by the way should start her own blog to show off all of her ideas for elf-on-the-shelf placement.  I do not even like elves-on-the-shelves but I would completely support her in this blogging endeavor because her placements really are incredible).  Inside were several darling items, including the hedgehog dryer balls!  Can you believe that?!  It's like she just knew we needed them, before we even knew they existed.  And that, my friends, is a true Christmas miracle.  Our laundry area has never been so adorable. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Miracle #1

This year, three amazing Christmas miracles happened to us.  Here's the first one:
Karl and I go to a little town called Cedarburg every year for a few days after Christmas.  There's not a lot to do there (which is lovely), so we spend time watching movies, sitting in front of the fire, chatting at coffee shops, and wandering through antique shops.  We always find something we need.  This year, it was this sweet little vintage lamp:

If you wind the ferris wheel, the riders go around and music plays.  The best part: well, everything.  The worst part: the hideously boring shade. 
Fast forward a couple of days and a 90-minute drive, when we stopped at an antiques shop just outside of Madison and found... in the furniture section because we were just going to quickly look at furniture and then go home, which makes it even more miraculous... the perfect shade!  Same company and everything. 

Goodbye, white shade.  Hello, adorableness.