Best Calendar for 2012

One of my favorite new calendars for 2012 ......Mates for Life........from one of my favorite Passionflower paper goods vendors....Screech Owl Designs.....(see a previous post about Screech Owl by clicking here)....
Ms. Screech Owl herself (whom I had the pleasure of meeting last year at the gift show where we had a pretty interesting discussion about business ethics and loyalty and when it's OK to switch teams and how to best go about that) recently got married - which perhaps in part explains her choice of subject for the 2012 calendar.   Read all about her interesting and unconventional  wedding in this Sunday NYTimes post by clicking here.

Introducing the Chia Angel

 Look what I brought back from Mexico with me....the little angel of the chia,  distant relative of the famed chia pet which has spawned everything from chia mac to chia Mr T.... I couldn't wait to plant my little piece of folk pottery.

  I think it's fair to say, one can fall in love with inanimate objects.  Because I am completely smitten watching the chia angel grow.  She's been watching over the holiday table.

The Blessings on My Meal

The house was all festive and sparkly for Christmas Dinner.  See it above in it's half finished foolproof trick:  hang garland everywhere. Then the, not so foolproof but definitely tricky, selection of the meat portion of the holiday meal.  And so it was rather capriciously, but not completely capriciously because I had had my favorite holiday meal at Sfizio and it was porky and delicious,  that I settled on  pork shoulder (bone in) and then learned everything I could about it....I quizzed the man at Longs who assured me that if I cooked it just right the bone would practically fall out on it's own.  Stephanie Pearl from Marche was gracious enough to give me an impromptu consult while she checked out  at the Passionflower counter.  I read up on it in the Joy. And then, because I was still dreaming of that great meal I had at Sfizio, I roasted squashy type vegetables with cumin and honey.  There was kale salad, and dill beans, braised cabbage with walnuts and a Territorial Vineyards 2006 Pinot Noir among other good wine picks..  The pork turned out great, though it was touch and go for a while there.  I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to enjoy the food bounty of the Pacific Northwest, to have so many great chefs in our midst who are so accessible,  and to have so many food loving friends with which to enjoy all these things. 

My Christmas Eve Tradition......

I give away all the last of the wreaths to employees, neighbors, and  friends.  I let the last few straggler Christmas Eve customers come in and make a purchase after we have closed.  They invariably tend to be other merchants who have been busy in their stores all season.  I load whatever is left into my tiny rig.....there's always some garland and a wreath and lots of candles.  Then I pick up my dad at the airport,  go home and decorate.....because Christmas Eve is when the holidays begin for me.

The Amanita Mushroom Makes a Magical Wreath

Ha!  I'd never seen this one before -a holiday wreath made from the red and white amanita muscaria mushroom via Studio 391 Gallery in Mendocino.....Apparently , some are claiming Christmas traditions as harking back to Siberian shamans, high on amanita  flying through the woods with their reindeer spirits.  Or something like can read about it here..   Or go here and scroll to the end where you will find this theory completely refuted.  Whatever the truth, there is something magical about coming upon these fungus in the woods (it's only happened to me a few times while out picking chanterelles up in the Mt Hood National Forest) and I love how they are celebrated here in this wreath.  (P.S.  They look fun in a wreath but don't ever try to eat them)......

Tis the Season

People don't make yourself crazy or exhausted or stressed out with Christmas decorating.  Thing of it as time to light a lot of candles and bring the boughs of greenery into your homes and make everything smell good. Time to pull out a few time worn treasures from their boxes and bring a new treasure or two home. Time to bask in the warmth of the season and put a wreath by the door to welcome all who might enter.   We're chock full of  beautiful wreaths.....and this year we're fond of playing off the brown of the cones with lots of rusts, and persimmon, and oranges and ruby tones.....Click here to find out more about the history of wreaths.
A little something to amuse you on a cold winter morning.

One of our best selling stocking stuffers....handknit finger puppets - organic cotton and fair trade.We searched far and wide for the best finger puppets out there and these are them...they hail from Peru where the tradition of handwork be it weaving, knitting, or crocheting is alive and well. I had always heard that most of the knitters in Peru are men and this fabulous post about textiles in Peru seemed to confirm that.  Check it out here.