Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winter Days & Nights

Winter weekends in Indiana are very different than the warmer seasons - it's generally too cold to do much in the way of outdoor activities and with no yard or garden work to be done, all sorts of other possibilities open up. This weekend we spent time volunteering, enjoying the company of friends, cooking at home, and putting in some time in our church kitchen. Here's a few little peeks of our wintery weekend:

Our Giving Sum group had way too much fun Saturday morning sorting food at Gleaners Food BankThis was after staying up way too late Friday night celebrating my birthday a little early, but we were none the worse for the wear. 

Saturday night we celebrated the birthday of a lovely lady with an appropriately Indiana-themed party: Parks & Recreation! We didn't dress up but there were some fabulous costumes.

After making parish breakfast today, we spent a super exciting afternoon doing our taxes early. Party!   But that's ok. A little knitting time and some delicious homemade dinner rounded out the day. 

I love simple weekend like these. They keep the cabin fever away and make the long nights and little daylight seem like a special season rather than a downer. I can't say I won't be sorry to open the windows and enjoy long walks again when spring comes, but for now I love the winter and the quiet times it brings. And Downton Abbey is on PBS tonight so you better believe that is on the agenda. 

How are you spending the winter weekends?


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Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Beautiful New Year

Graves Family Christmas 2013. Courtesy of Larry Endicott.
Every year our family takes a photo on Christmas. I love looking back at them seeing how we grow and change! These dear ones mean the world to me - right down to the wet, leafy dogs who aren't so thrilled that we interrupted their frolic in the bushes (Lola the Chow Chow, you will note, does not care to appear in group photos and refused to join us).

I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I do make to-do lists. This year Bryan and I have been putting together a list of all sorts of things we want to do in 2013. We usually do this by season but I like the idea of having some simple goals for the year. Visiting new places in our on city, trying some new restaurants, growing a winter garden - they aren't grand or lofty goals, but they're the stuff that colors the everyday and keeps life fresh and creative. Here are a few things on my list:

  • Read widely
  • Plant a root vegetable garden
  • Add some new exercise disciplines to my regular workout routine
  • Take an Indian cooking class
  • Watch some old films I love and haven't seen in forever (Room With a View, I coming for you)
  • Learn a new knitting technique - steeking or brioche are on my list
  • Try my hand at crochet
  • Visit a new city
What's on your to-do list for 2013?

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Holiday Wrap-Up

So much snow!
I don't know about you, but I was having so much fun over the holidays that I sort of switched off my online everything! Internet being out at the house also had a bit to do with it. Anyway, Christmas and New Years were absolutely glorious and here's the picture recap to prove it. 

We spent Christmas Eve at our dear little church downtown, Christ Church Cathedral. Services are the highlight of my holiday and they are guaranteed to put you in a Victorian Christmas coziness coma. Afterwards we enjoyed our Christmas apples, an Episcopal tradition, and the pretty light on the circle. 

Christmas Day we spent with my family at my parent's home. We all stay over the night before and it's like a giant slumber party. Of course, being from a family of four girls, we can make a Saturday brunch feel like a slumber party. It's our default mode.
Bryan and I cooked Christmas dinner for the fam and Bryan brined his first turkey. More Tofurkey for me.
Christmas crowns and crackers are required.
We had planned to drive to Kansas to see Bryan's family on Boxing Day, but an Indiana blizzard and a bout of flu left us officially snowed in. Which meant a couple of unexpected lazy, snowy days at home:

And plenty of time to play with my childhood dollhouse, which I stole from my parents' attic:

Over New Year's, a few dear friends made the trek from Kentucky to stay with us for the weekend and we had a little party:

We dubbed this Betty Draper's Vodka Punch.
And we finished off the night by lighting bottle rockets, like grownups.

2012 has been a year full of the unexpected. Can't wait to see what's ahead in 2013!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

A Day at 100 Acres

Archer refused to swing.
A few weekends ago, the weather was perfectly cool, brisk, and sunny so we took the dogs to one of our favorite spots in town, the 100 Acres Nature Park at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. This is one of our favorite places to steal away to when we have a free morning or afternoon, but I hadn't been since my bike accident in the spring, which made walking on uneven ground treacherous until recently. The grounds are beautiful and a trail around the lake makes for a gorgeous long ramble in any season. Sculpture is mixed in with the natural features of the park and the balance is really lovely. Here are a few pictures of our day. I think Archer and Lola would agree that it's just about their favorite place to frolic!

The whole park is like a playground for grownups.
Kids do like it, too. Case in point.
The hanging branches have lightbulbs in them. Wouldn't this be a gorgeous spot for a cocktail hour?
Lola never faces the camera.
Playing on Atelier Van Lieshout's Funky Bones

Where do you go to play?

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday-ing the House

Our little house is feeling quite cozy! Christmas decorations are just the best. Last weekend my friend Leslie came over for a little ornament-making party and we knocked out a few projects. I'm a sucker for  holiday DIY, especially since I love to decorate but I don't love to buy decorations - Christmas should be handmade, you know?

First we made these ornaments by covering clear bulbs in strips of old poetry.

Then I messily experimented with these balls, which are made by marbling paint inside a clean glass globe. I had a couple of paint explosions, but I love the way the finished project looks. 

My first gift wrapping of the season was this little guy, our gift for our church's annual Adopt-A-Family gift drive. It's always the first gift of the season we buy, and it helps me remember why we give, to those we love and to those we don't even know. 

Next up, holiday baking!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Indoor Garden

Right before our first hard frost, I brought in the plants that had been living on the porch and transplanted some of the kitchen herbs so we could cook with them through the winter. I'm officially out of window space, so I guess that means we're at plant capacity. They certainly do brighten up a grey morning, though!

This little cactus in the middle is one of my favorite year-round indoor plants. I bough it for $2 at a garden shop earlier this year, it was on the close-out rack and looked all sick and miserable. After repotting and some good dry soil, it perked right up and has tripled in size. Way to go, little friend! 

What's growing on your windowsill this winter?

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Sister Decorating Day

Forgive the dark picture, but I couldn't resist. On Sunday my sisters and I trooped over to my parent's house to work a little holiday magic. Our enthusiasm knew no bounds (sorry Mumsy) and we sprinkled holly and pheasant feathers over everything in sight. My poor parents will be redecorating for days. As is usual when all four of us are in the same house, there was Poirot and pots of tea and a tiny nephew running around trying to divest himself of his socks, diaper, and all other unnecessary bits of baby attire. 

Doesn't it look pretty, though? Can't wait for Graves Family Christmas!

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