Monday, November 30, 2009


I'm really into birds lately. Watching them fly, or eat at a feeder. I've started noticing they are all over the place in decorations, in print, and in the handmade craft world. This photo is of a holiday display at Nordstrom - a tree filled with birds! Tonight I had to go back to the MOA to pick up a bag my sister left in a store on Friday. I really wasn't looking forward to going back to the mall. Big change for me over the past two years. I used to love shopping there - now, it's just OK. I had two coupons for DSW, good through today. I scoured the regular and sale priced areas for a pair of gray flats. No luck. Then I looked for new running shoes. No luck. So I left. And am happy I didn't just buy something I wasn't looking for because I had coupons. That's another big change for me.

Two stories from this Thanksgiving, aka, the great gravy debacle. I'm the mashed potato maker and my sister makes great gravy. This year the turkey was in the oven a bit too long, was dry, and there was an abundance of pan drippings. Jodi was in gravy making heaven. We had so much that she left over half in the saucepan, which for some reason she put in the sink. You know where this is going. After eating my dad cleared his plate and put it on top of the pan in the sink, covering it. I proceeded to wash my hands in that half of the sink. We soon figured out the gravy was full of soap. Oh boy, there were some sad gravy faces as we dumped the gravy in the garbage. The next day Jodi had to make gravy with "the bag of stuff that was with the turkey" (as my mom called it). I didn't want to know what that bag of stuff was, so I chose not the watch the second gravy making.

The next is about my nephew, Andrew. He has definite ideas about what he likes to eat. On Thanksgiving it's just turkey legs and pumpkin pie. No sides. Except rolls. Well, I told my mom the week before that we probably don't need rolls, since there's stuffing and all the other sides. We sit down, Andrew gets his legs and asks where the rolls are. My mom sighs and says, "Jill said we didn't need bread. . . " and repeated that at least three times during the meal. I offered to make toast. He said it wasn't a big deal. More sighs from mom.

Next year I'm taking a cue from Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and setting out a plate of toast, stick pretzels, popcorn and jelly beans. And I bet more than one person will eat some of it. It's my plan for a new tradition. . . since the scalloped corn I made this year wasn't well received. That's another story.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Look at that yummy sandwich and beer cheese soup from Hogan's in Northfield. I forgot to include that photo yesterday.

Currently reading When Summer is in the Meadow by Niall and Christine Williams. I mentioned them in another post. This is their second book about living in Ireland. They are about to adopt an Irish child. It's a good read.

I went to the library today after yoga. It's my typical Sunday routine - yoga, library, Target. I've heard good things about this Handmade Home idea book, so I thought I'd check it out. Most of the projects are sewing based, using recycled/repurposed fabric and clothing. I'm really just liking the pictures at this point.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

a favorite place

I spent the morning with my new friend, Quik Fix Singer. It took us a while to get to know each other - especially threading the bobbin. I made the whole process more complicated than it had to be. But we became fast friends after that. I pulled out some paper I wanted to stitch and away we went. Lots of fun.

I visited one of my favorite Minnesota towns in the afternoon - Northfield. I love Northfield. In my book it has all the makings for a wonderful small town. . . not one, but two liberal arts colleges, a river, angle parking, a charming main street, a rich arts community, college student hangouts coupled with ethnic restaurants, a real bakery, a consignment/vintage clothing shop, a few boutique-y clothing shops, this craft extravaganza shop called diggs, and (what first brought me there) a bead shop. Yes folks, in my book Northfield has it all. Something about it reminds me of that quirky town on the Gilmore Girls. Rory and Loralei drove me nuts on that show, but I so enjoyed the character of that town they lived in. And it's only 45 minutes away! A "backup dream" place to live someday if my goal of becoming a sidewalk sweeper/writer/beader/full-time crafty person in Co. Kerry, Ireland is just a bit out of my reach for this lifetime.

Friday, November 27, 2009


At 11:18p, these feet are tired. Happy day after Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

potato masher + gravy maker

Family and Thanksgiving. Jodi and I are a like in many ways, and very different in other ways. I'm the mashed potato expert, she's the gravy expert. Mom is starting to pass some of the duties on to us. Always love this day with my family.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Today is my 34th birthday. 34. Wow. Over a 1/3 of the way to 99. To celebrate the next year of my life, I created the little book above. This birthday book idea came from Elise. It's called my 34 to-do book. Here's my list of 34 to-dos for the next year (in no particular order).
1: love
2: start an etsy shop
3: finish five books
4: cross an ocean
5: bake bread from scratch
6: have a "Clare's Well day" once a month
7: sister's weekend trip with Jodi
8: take a book class at MCBA
9: hike
10: kayak
11: dinner (again) at the Harbor View Cafe in Pepin
12: host a party
13: de-clutter
14: go fishing with dad
15: go to a Gopher football game with Andrew
16: go on a picnic
17: stay at a B&B
18: smile
19: make a favorite childhood recipe with mom
20: sing in the rain
21: buy handmade
22: support literacy
23: blog everyday for one month
24: close a big gift
25: date
26: fit more comfortably in my clothes
27: watch the oringinal Star Wars trilogy
28: ice skate at Ivy Hills Park
29: find something lovely at a consignment shop
30: go bowling
31: bake a rhubarb pie from scratch
32: fill my red wall with art
33: pray
34: document this list

I'm beginning #23 today - blog every day for a month. This also happens to be the first day of documenting my holiday season in my holiday book, so the daily blogging will help with my goal to take a photo + write down some words about my day.

I'm super excited about this year and to capture some details about it in this little book. Stay tuned for my progress!

Now off to frost some spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese buttercream frosting. It's bring a treat night at tutoring this evening, and the cupcakes will be my contribution.

Monday, November 16, 2009

calm + bright

2008 dec daily collage, originally uploaded by jmk photos.
I'm about ten days away from starting my 2009 holiday daily book. It's ready to go, and all my supplies are assembled in one pile (well, maybe two or three piles to be honest).

I first learned about this idea from Ali. Her idea is this: document each day from December 1-25. Keep it simple. Focus on images and words. Create the book and base pages ahead of time. Gather your supplies. Enjoy the process and the season.

Last year I decided to create one of these albums. A few photos of it are pictured above. I didn't create the foundation or gather my supplies beforehand, however, and I quickly learned a lesson for this year: make the base ahead of time. It equals more fun time thinking about one day at a time.

My 2008 album documented Dec 1-30. I learned another lesson: I'm more interested in the month before Christmas. It will always include my birthday (Nov 25) and most of the time Thanksgiving as well (which is my most favorite holiday).

The most important lesson I learned was how to more fully appreciate and give thanks for this time of year. Although I've dramatically reframed my view of being single over the past few years, I still struggle a bit with being single from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Making time for creativity and reflecting on the gift of each day in December made an incredible difference in holiday experience last year. I realized there are some traditions this family of one would like to keep honoring, and that there is room for new surprises if I am present and open to them. The discipline of really observing each day carried on into the rest of 2009. And I'm grateful for that. I highly recommend a project like this. It can be in any form. . .a blog. . .from re-purposed paper. . . with a lot of glitter. . . with all pictures, or with one. . . from whichever dates you'd like during the season. . .with whatever words you feel like writing. I felt such a sense of accomplishment and creative awe as I read my 2008 pages a week ago. For that alone it was worth taking the time to smear some glue stick over paper.

So, my new 2009 little holiday book is ready to go for November 25. . . and it will help me with another creative project I have in store for the next year of my life. More to come on both next week.