love and the creative spirit

February 11, 2015

hearts heartsThis year for Valentine’s Day, I decide to revive a tradition from my childhood: Scandi-inspired heart ornaments fashioned from homemade baking soda “clay.” My friend Alexandra and I used to make them with her mother, Marnie. I remembered those tomato red hearts with such affection, and was excited to pass the experience on to my own children.

But Oliver wasn’t interested. For the first time ever my boy firmly stated that he did not want to make Valentines for his class. Since we always make our own cards, I questioned why. Turns out some boys in his class have been teasing him all year, and he just couldn’t see his way to giving them a card. I started to give him the standard PC parent lecture about love conquering all. But then I paused. For I realized that this was likely not the reality he experienced navigating the trenches of third grade. And part of me understood; it would be hard to give a piece of yourself to people who make you feel so small. So I didn’t press him.

Later though, as Solvi and I began our production, Oliver did join in. He even came up with the idea of painting an arrow piercing the heart. (Fitting, no?) So maybe love doesn’t conquer all. And maybe even as I want to provide my kids with all the rich and wonderful experiences of childhood, I can’t protect them from the fact that life hurts. But in the end, I was happy to see that it takes more than a few mean words to stifle Oliver’s creative spirit.

playdough hearts prebakingIn case you are wondering, here’s a recipe for making your own hearts using baking soda and cornstarch.

playdough hearts baked

Solvi painting hearts

Olie painting hearts

Olie painting hearts detail

kids painting hearts

playdough hearts red

playdough hearts red finished

detail white heartleaving some unpainted created a more Scandi-modern version, complete with Angela Liguori’s wrapped cotton twine

playdough hearts white finished

pink and white heart

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snowmageddon from the inside

January 29, 2015

braided rug 2

When life gives you driving snow and hurricane force winds, what do you do? Make biscuits.

Yesterday, Juno meant a day of forced leisure – time to enjoy the small things: my long neglected knitting, as well as a good book read in bed, with a kid on either side quietly doing the same. (Oh thank you God of Reading for making just one of my pre-parental fantasies come true.) It also meant having time to indulge the children’s whims, such Solvi’s request to make a rug for her baby bunny. Or that of Oliver, who announced he wanted to make biscuits.
Me: “What? Where did that come from?”
Him: “From a book I’m reading. Biscuits and honey sound delicious.”
Yes, they did; and they were.
Other moments were spent by the fire savoring Jasper Hill Cheese, a free gift from a frazzled clerk at Whole Foods who couldn’t be bothered to look up the price of the unlabeled product. Or just enjoying the reflected light.

braided rug 1

knitting

making biscuits

making biscuits 2

hot biscuits with honey

tea and biscuits

cardinal

paperwhites

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new bedroom lightsSneak peak at the progress on our bedroom as we finally strip the ugly, old wall paper. Though still unwashed and a little dingy, I do love the modeled look of the plaster. I feel like I’m sleeping in an Italian villa. Long coveted by me, the Hector sconces by BTW were a Christmas and early birthday present from Chad. The bone-white porcelain shades are the perfect touch. To complete the look, I’m considering applying a lime wash to the walls. Hopefully this will freshen them up without totally obscuring the plaster. For the trim – a soft, warm gray, of course.

my little ponnyMy little pony is by Rusakko.

bedroom work
winter dining roomAlways love the light in the dining room at this time of year.

DIY large paper cranes, finished 1, by Justine Hand for Remodelista.jpgGiant DIY cranes glide in the dining room.

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Love these soulful images of my house shot by Angela Liguori during last month’s holiday market here. Oliver made himself scarce while our home was filled with shoppers. But Solvi, as you can see, was the hit of the show. At some point she was inspired to pull out her own jewelry making kit and set up shop. Five sales later, she made $15.

See more picts at Angela’s blog.

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Solvi gives a tour to a new friend.

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handmade and vintage goods by Jill Bent

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Solvi augments her craft supplies with Angela’s ribbon scraps.

solvi3

Solvi and a kindred spirit

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Niho candles

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a selection of Angela’s ribbons

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Susy‘s manekin

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Laura from Templeton General and Kristi Allore with her candles

2justine and solvi

solvi2

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Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 1

Instead of using potatoes and any old ink for our annual wrapping paper project, this year we got serious. Mom made real stamps (!!!!) and actually bought professional block printing ink. The kids didn’t really notice the difference. (They’re approach is more, err, extemporaneous.) But I fell in love. Block printing is my new passion.

Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 2
Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 Solvi 1
Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 Solvi roller
Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 bird stamps
Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 Olie's birdsOlie’s “flock”

Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 Solvi 2
Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 Olie roller
Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 silver dogs

Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 mom's gnomesMom’s attempt birds and gnomes

Annual DIY wrapping paper 2014 Mom's white dogswhite dogs

DIY Scandi inpsired Gods eyes, gift tag, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

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mistletoe and meyer lemon garland, mistletoe, by Justine Hand for Remodelistamistletoe from California. (Note: that mistletoe can cause stomach irritation if you consume it, so this garland is not recommended for homes with young children or mischievous pets.)

The second in my series on reinventing old Christmas standbys in new ways: a garland with mistletoe and meyer lemons.

This arrangement was inspired by author Mary Taylor Simeti, a NY-native, who, in her book On Persephone’s Island, describes using lemon boughs to conjure a Northern style Christmas in her Southern Sicilian home. See Remodelista for the complete how-to.

mistletoe and meyer lemon garland, meyer lemons, by Justine Hand for Remodelistameyer lemons

mistletoe and meyer lemon garland, trimming andromeda, by Justine Hand for Remodelistaandromeda foraged from my yard

mistletoe and meyer lemon garland, adding in mistletoe, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

mistletoe and meyer lemon garland, tying off 2, by Justine Hand for Remodedlista

mistletoe meyer lemon garland, finished with candles 3, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

mistletoe and meyer lemon garland, finished detail, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

mistletoe and meyer lemon garland, finished detail 2, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

mistletoe meyer lemon garland, finished with candles, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

table profile with mistletoe garland

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a poinsettia i could love

December 19, 2014

Poinsettia bouquet with rose hips, finished arrangement 2, by Justine Hand for Gardenist

Never been a fan of Poinsettias. Perhaps it’s the foil wrapping or the bad supermarket lighting. But when Gardenista asked me to reimagine them as a cut flower, I discovered the drama of this common Christmas plant. See here for the tutorial.

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, white poinsettia, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Repotted, my poinsettia is already better.

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, rose hips, by Justine Hand for Gardenistarose hips

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, leucothoe, by Justine Hand for Gardenistaleucothoe

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, base, by Justine Hand for Gardenistathe base – floral foam in a pedestal bowl

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, poinsettia sap, by Justine Hand for GardenistaCut poinsettia stems need to be seared or the sap with drip out, and the flower will not last.

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, searing a poinsettia, by Justine Hand for Gardenistasinge the stem

Poinsettia bouquet, adding flowers Poinsettia bouquet with rose hips, finished arrangement detail, by Justine Hand for Gardenist Poinsettia bouquet with rose hips, finished arrangement, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

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the old manse

December 2, 2014

The old manse

About a mile outside of the old town center, overlooking the Old North Bridge stands one of Concord’s great literary and historic houses: The Old Manse. Built in 1770 by the grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson, it not only bore witness to the start of the American Revolution, but later played host to a number of the founding fathers of American literature. Here Emerson wrote his first drafts of Nature while sitting at a tiny desk made by his good friend Henry David Thoreau. Shorty after the newly married Hawthornes took up residence, etching love notes and general observations onto the window panes using Sophia’s diamond ring. Here, they both paid homage to the home, she in her paintings, and he in Mosses from an Old Manse.

In continuation of, if not its literary heritage, than at least its legacy of forging familial bonds, we come to the Old Manse in all seasons to take in a bit of history and romp around the grounds.

Grave of British soldiers

grave of British Soldiers killed at North Bridge

old north bridge

North Bridge

yellow Solvi

Solvi on a stone wall 

snow ball fight_edited-1

on the front lines… of a snowball fight

Olie, Solvi and Chris, The Manse

with Uncle Chris

manse field

footprints and frolic in the field 

back door the manse

harvest at the back door

Olie Manse

Olie by the road

Solvi stone wall

Solvi triumphant

Solvi winter sunset

Solvi radiant

the manse

The back of the house from the Concord River

Solvi Manse dock

Solvi by the boat house

geese Concord river

geese on the Concord River

Solvi tree

Solvi by the old oak

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peony bouquet 2

Peonies are an unlikely choice for Thanksgiving. Which is why I absolutely love this year’s holiday centerpiece.

There they were yesterday at Whole Foods, all hot pink amongst the auburns and browns. How could I resist such bodacious blooms, standing in vernal defiance of winter’s pending onslaught.

peony bouquet detail

peony bouquet detail 2

peony bouquet detail 6

peony bouquet

peony bouquet detail 3

peony bouquet 3

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autumn bough with snowy cotton

November 24, 2014

DIY Cotton Garland, final, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I made a bough with foraged fall foliage and cotton bolls. See my complete DIY on Gardenista.

DIY Cotton Garland, cotton branches, by Justine Hand for Gardenista_edited-1

DIY Cotton Garland, millet, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, pear branch, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, oak and bridal wreath branches, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, step one, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, tools and supplies, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, building up the garland, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, tie ribbon, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, finished, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, detail 3, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, detail 4, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, detail 7, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, detail 6, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

DIY Cotton Garland, detail 9, by Justine Hand for Gardenista_edited-1

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