Cheers! To the People Who Remind Us...

One of The Non-Scotsman's good, rowdy friends also happens to have a magic touch. He came up to visit in Seattle to see my man, of course, but also to rent an ancient camera: a 35mm Hasselblad.
This man shot some of my favorite things without any editing! He gave me a fresh vantage point above my life, where I am now standing with arms open wide, yelling "THANK YOU!"

My neighborhood joint:

My place of work:
My parent's backyard:

My husband and my views:

My new hang at Melrose Market:

And even me in my pearls, made by my dear friend Jessica Andrews:
(I actually was very happy here; although I look like I'm about to pounce)...

Cheers to Nate and his wife for reminding me how beautiful life is, remind me to look at the details, remind me to be thankful.
Merry Christmas Seattle!


A Perfect, Bitter Stocking Stuffer

This year, I am all about the small things. (Think: "stocking stuffers" of life). They might not be the biggest packages under the tree, but they often bring the most pungent joy. And these little, beautiful, things happen all over Seattle.

Watching my nephews open their gifts early in Issaquah.
A great phone conversation with a new friend in Belltown.
Scoring 250 points in skeeball at King's Hardware in Ballard.
A cup of peppermint tea in this nook at Roy Street Coffee & Tea on Capitol Hill

An impromptu Christmas kiss with my husband at Canlis,
(Canlis, 2010 - photo compliments Christopher Keuhl)

The sweet success of victory after a 3 day battle with port-braised short ribs
And watching the Packers lose yesterday with an avid Packer fan!

However, if I could name my most favorite REAL stocking stuffer of 2010, it might be these:

While strolling 12th Avenue on a rainy night on my (Capitol) Hill a few weeks ago I stumbled across these incredible bitters at the 12th & Olive Wine Co. It was about 9:00 at night, and I have to imagine the owner was avoiding going home or something, because he spent a good half hour deconstructing (ie: tearing apart like a wild coyote!) Woodinville wineries and then showing off these bitters.

It didn't take much convincing to fall in love with a line of hand-crafted organic bitters with flavors like celery, orange, lavender, chocolate and cardamom. What a beautiful addition to anything, be it beverage or food. I'd take a stocking full of Scrappy's any day!


Pre-Thanksgiving Thanks

I think I entered full Thanksgiving mode on Saturday...every sense attuned to festivity and stuffed with winter squash.

It started with a stop down the street at the Melrose Market,

(A Rainbow of Winter Chard, Marigold & Mint, 2010)

(Winter Blooms, Marigold & Mint, 2010)

(You know you're a retailer to be reckoned with when you can make string something gorgeous, Marigold & Mint, 2010)

(A golden angel, Marigold & Mint, 2010)

a bump into some friends, a handful of Mike & Ike's from the handy candy machine at Utretch's Art Supply Store, and a good read and macchiatos at Victrola with the Non-Scotsman.

(Who wouldn't want that face across the table from them? Victrola Coffee Roasters, 2010)

We arrived at my parents house to find my grandpa falling out of our birch trees, stringing Christmas lights. This is a man's man, who can get up and laugh it off:

(M.r Richard "Papa Dick" Schmautz ladies and gentlemen!, 2010)

We spent the rest of the day doing this:
(My goddaughter and niece, Isabella, 2010)

eating this
(Smitten Kitchen's Sweet Potato Gratin, 2010)

and thankfully licking anything and everything out of the bowl.

(Jiovanni "gets it!", 2010)

And Thanksgiving isn't even here yet!



This made my week.

Found here: on Etsy


A Bit of Motherland'ish Light

Light, in Italy, is simply different.
Italian light caresses the land...

(Assisi, 2010)

(Piazzale Michaelangelo at Sunrise, 2010)

(Assisi and olive branches, 2010)

(Pace de Assisi, 2010)

Adores the people in the land...
(Post-gelato lull in San Gimignano, 2010)

(A monk, 2010)
And generally does its best to show off.

(My Mysterious Non-Scotsman, Assisi, 2010)


The Birds & The Bees

A good understanding of that crucial life-lesson, "the Birds & the Bees" led me to yesterdays event: helping host a baby shower for one of my "loveliest" friends. On a sidenote, am I the only one who's wondered "Why birds, why bees, why together?"

Anyway, I took some vintage sketches of the two animals (also, are bees even considered animals?) and made up some invitations.*

I kept the little-tag theme going from the invitations to the seating cards...**

Now this particular friend loves all things French, charming, warm, and generally just "lovely," as she often says. She also harbors a delight in great children's books, so we requested each guest bring a copy of her childhood favorite, her classic.*** These were added to the Sholdt Family Library, and were stamped as such:

Rebecca's selections of fine teas, Jessica's homemade quiches, Le Panier brioches and macarons...yes, we showered...

(Two mothers-to-be, "lovely" on the right. 2010)

* Note: I'd arrived home the night before from the Motherland, so in my head I was actually serving dinner, not brunch
** Acknowedgement: A hearty thanks to the gentleman at Kinko's who helped print these invitations despite the fact that they were set up horrifically!
*** Note: We determined previously that a "good" children's book has memorable illustrations and does not try to sneak in some innane moral lesson (ie: eat organic, ride a bike to work, recycle).


Off to My Motherland

Can you guess where I'm heading in 6 hours?

I plan on feeling like this...

And stopping to smell roses, like this...

Someplace where this happens spontaneously...

And using these words...

Or perhaps words like va bene, prego, e troppo vino per piacere...to describe all of this I'm enjoying...

And eating lots and lots of this...

Can you guess the destination?


Random Summer Fruit

(My first nectarine tart with cornmeal crust, 2010)

There's something in my nature that attempts recipes without having complete or correct ingredients in hand. I'd decided to try a little apricot vanilla tart with cornmeal crust (thank you to whoever gifted us with a Williams Sonoma cookbook for a wedding gift). Sure, the store had no apricots, and yes, I forgot the apricot preserves and maybe one or two other things. Never mind that, because I loved how my Nectarine-tart-with-strawberry-and-vanilla turned out on my somewhat-difficult-to-cut-cornmeal-crust. I had to bake it no matter what the recipe called for: I think it's that summer is clearly closing its curtain and I'm trying to enjoy every last sense of it.

As a tribute to the end of summer, I want to share with you the following excerp. It's a bit random (like my baking and md) and not about elusive apricots or dainty, thin-skinned nectarines, but a tribute to my favorite summer symbol of all: Peaches.

From Blossoms
by Li-Young Lee

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.