I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus…


Last week was super busy for me.  Much of my work week was spent decorating, shopping, catering, and hosting a reception for 60, followed by a one-day 1000 mile drive to retrieve my son for the holidays.  Now that I’ve had a chance to relax and rest I’m ready to share my last guide with you – gift ideas for the real Santa (aka: Mom).  Most mom’s would rather spend time with their loved ones than receive a gift but it never hurts to have a present or two ready so you can stay on her nice list….

  1. Anthropolgie Tea Set for One
  2. Kew Crystal Collar Necklace
  3. Premiere Edition Scrabble
  4. Olive & Thistle Wreath
  5. Kate Spade Cameron Street Lottie Bag
  6. Kendra Scott Juniper Earrings
  7. Modern Sprout Garden Jar Herb Kit 
  8. Lincoln in the Bardo
  9. My Absolute Darling
  10. Dottie Honey Pot
  11. Ted Baker Issy Impressionist Cape Silk Scarf
  12. Floral: The Graphic Book of the Garden
  13. Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum
  14. Sourdough
  15. Dylan’s Candy Bar Signature Chocolate Wheel
  16. SpaFinder
  17. Oscar’s Bouquet Embroidery Pillow Kit
(In case you missed my other gift guides check out kids, tweens, young adults, and dads here)
*I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Amy Winehouse

Give love on Christmas Day…


A few weeks ago I listed some gift ideas for kids, teens, and young adults.  Having worked many a Black Friday in my younger years I try not to shop over the Thanksgiving holiday if I can help it.  Fast forward through a week spent working on a Program in Music, Mind & Society event and I am ready to get back into holiday shopping mode.  Next up, some gift ideas for the fathers in your life….

  1. Olive & Sinclair 8 Bar Box Set of Chocolates
  2. Classic Rock-n-Roll Art
  3. The Taking of K-129
  4. Easy 123 Art Paint-by-Numbers Miami Nice
  5. UGG Ascot Slippers
  6. Sticky Fingers : The Life of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone
  7. Kentucky Bourbon of the Month Club
  8. Ravensberger Neuschwanstein Castle Puzzle
  9. American Fire: Love, Arson and Life in a Vanishing Land
  10. Meyer the Hatter Dobbs Dayton Felt Fedora
  11. Atari Flashback Portable Player
  12. The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
  13. Pink Floyd 1972 Obfusc/ation
  14. DiBruno Brothers Beer & Bourbon Collection 
  15. SCTV Volume 1, 2, and 3,
*Give Love on Christmas Day – The Jackson 5

Thank you for letting me be myself…

“The Clown” by Prentice Cole (1977, Philadelphia Daily News)

I find it hard to believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  I have two special turkey day memories that I think of every year.  I was once a screaming blackbird  on top of the ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’ float in a Gimbel’s Thanksgiving Day parade in Philly, and I famously defrosted the first turkey I ever cooked (a 15-pound rock-solid frozen Butterball) in a jacuzzi on Thanksgiving morning (which remains the tenderest turkey I’ve ever cooked).

Over the next few days I plan on slowing down to enjoy the things I am most thankful for: my family and my health.  I’ll spend time cooking, watching the Macy’s Parade and some football, and finish an embroidery piece I am excited about.  I will also be thinking those of you who visit this blog occasionally or have become followers.  Thank you for your support and encouragement. I wish you all a wonderful holiday full of family, friends, food and fun.

*Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) – Sly & The Family Stone

All my sisters, all my brothers…


It’s only 4 days until Turkey Day and the nation’s holiday shopping madness officially begins. I’ve already got gift ideas for the little ones and tweens in my life.  But what to get for the slightly harder-to-please grown-ups?  Here a few of the things I am considering – maybe you’ll find the perfect thing for your brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, or bestie too…

  1. I’ll Be There necklace
  2. The More You Gnome Zen Garden
  3. 100 Albums Scratch Off Poster
  4. Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season
  5. Many Moons Clutch
  6. Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook
  7. Swirling Leaves by Sophie Borsting (or any original Art)
  8. Christian Siriano’s Dresses to Dream About 
  9. Thistle Farms Bath Soak Trio
  10. One Pan, Two Plates
  11. Guitar Stands
  12. Soap Rocks
  13. Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel
  14. Frank Lloyd Wright Falling Water double-sided puzzle
  15. Baggu Leather Backpack
  16. Wooden USA Beer Cap Map
*Peace Brother Peace -The Righteous Brothers


Christmas is coming…


I have a real love/hate relationship with technology and try to avoid giving gifts with plugs.  That is especially hard to do when buying for anyone young (say between 10 and 20).  I find money always works, but if you are looking for something a little more personal to give your favorite tween or teen the following 18 ideas score high on the ‘cool’ scale and ‘low’ on electricity usage…

  1. MOMA colorful Backgammon set
  2. Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats 2 Wireless Headphones
  3. Music, movies and concert gift cards
  4. 1000 Record Covers
  5. Polaroid Zip Wireless Mobile Photo Printer
  6. Lewo Wooden 48-piece Stacking Game 
  7. Half Baked Harvest Cookbook
  8. Tretorn Andre 3000 HYLITEHIXAB2 Sneakers
  9. 642 Things to Draw
  10. Rosie Lush Basket
  11. Super Spirograph
  12. Secret Marvels of the World: 360 extraordinary places you never knew existed and where to find them
  13. MOMA Paper Watches
  14. The Kwik-E-Mart
  15. Sneakers
  16. This Book is a Planetarium
  17. Multi-masking Mania
  18. Ravensburger Sneaker: American Style
*Christmas is Coming – Vince Guaraldi Trio



All I want for Christmas…


I’ve been busy making my lists and checking them twice and now I am ready to share a few of my favorite things to buy for Christmas 2017, starting with 15 gifts sure to  please your littlest loved ones…

  1. Hanna Anderson Organic cotton Long Johns
  2. The Very, Very Long Dog (also reviewed here)
  3. Carlo Robelli F640 Acoustic Guitar
  4. Melissa & Doug Simple Crafty Superhero Masks & Cuffs
  5. School’s First Day of School
  6. Iggy Peck Architect
  7. Zoonimooz
  8. Seedling DIY Galaxy in a Jar Kit
  9. Jellycat Sloth
  10. Safari Bowling Set
  11. Mukikim Rock and Roll It Rainbow Piano
  12. Kinoptik City Magnetic Tile 123 Piece Building Kit
  13. Ravensburger Underwater Paradise Puzzle
  14. Woodland Castle with Royal Family Figures
  15. Janod Mint Balance Scooter Bike
*All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth – Alvin & The Chipmunks


10-28 Ephemera

Trick or Treat…smell my feet (image from The Sum of All Crafts)

It finally feels like fall and not a moment too soon, since Halloween is almost here.  I never did get the chance to work on my 2017 Halloween mantle design so I am making do with a shiny door wreath and full-size candy bars and calling it a day.  It feels like I lost the month of October while helping my mom recover from her surgery, and thought you’d like to check out some of the things which kept me spellbound during her convalescence …

Hope you have a frightening good weekend…

*Donald Duck – Trick or Treat


9-22 Ephemera

1725 German Wood Floor from the J. Paul Getty Museum

Even though we are experiencing summertime temperatures today is officially the first day of fall and I am more than ready for autumn.  Between weekend travels that have taken me north, south, and east to see my children and preparing for the opening night of an art installation next week I haven’t had much free time to explore the web but did manage to stumble upon the following:

I am looking forward to having the next few days off and hope to finalize my Halloween mantle decorations (see last year’s design here), watch the new Kingsmen movie, catch some football (go Eagles!), and cook (I am hoping to make Smoky Pasta alla Vodka and Slow Cooker Honey Lime Ginger Pork).  Hope you have a relaxing weekend doing the things that make you happiest…

8-23 Ephemera

Zebrafish eye and neuromasts
Ingrid Lekk and Steve Wilson, University College London

I spent a lot of time last week exploring ‘all things eclipse’ prior to viewing the big show on Monday, along with preparing for a one-day geneticists meeting, planning a water conservation art installation for September, and driving to Indianapolis and Mobile to help my children get settled into their new apartments and another year of college.  What little free time I had left was spent watching pre-season football (Go Eagles!) and web-surfing.  Here are a few things which captured the totality of my attention (and hopefully yours as well).

Hope your week (and upcoming weekend) leave you inspired…

*Mess Around – Ray Charles

Set the controls for the heart of the sun…

Eclipse Mania

On August 21st everyone in the US will, weather permitting, experience some part of the total eclipse of the sun.  Here in Nashville, we are expecting 500,000 visitors to join us residents in watching the totality, which is expected to be a two-hour show from start to finish.

Since I forgot to buy glasses I plan on going old-school and make my own out of a Lucky Charms box.  If you purchased glasses check to make sure they are ISO 12312-2:2015 solar glasses to avoid damage to your eyes.  There are a lot of fakes out there (in our area, a local school district and college just destroyed thousands of dollars of non-ISO solar glasses purchased by accident).

I’ve been spending a lot of time checking out NASA’s Eclipse 101 exploring all things eclipse.  You can find interactive maps and eclipse activities, enter the eclipse quilt design contest, learn about eye safety and even watch the live feed on August 21st.

Check out  astrophysicist (and my sewing buddy) Natalie Hinkel explain why she loves space, the stars, punk rock, and drinking.  Her enthusiasm is infectious (and is partly to blame for my own eclipse excitement)!

Did you know the Monday’s eclipse has been nicknamed the ‘Great American Eclipse’ because it will cross through the United States and no other country.  Check out more fun eclipse facts and indulge in some sweet planet lollipops at the same time.

I wish I had some little ones to share the eclipse viewing with. If I did, I would get them ready for the big event with a game of Solar Bingo or by reading Dr. Seuss’s There’s No Place Like Space (sadly, minus Pluto).

Special events deserve to be remembered with special art.  To commemorate the event I plan on buying a t-shirt and poster (or two) from artist, astronomer, and night sky ambassador Dr. Tyler Nordgren at Space Art Travel Bureau.

Finally, I am going to keep Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on rotation as I watch the eclipse in all of its epic totality.  I can’t think of a more perfectly suited opus to accompany the earth and sun as they perform their eclipse duet.

How about you?  Are you psyched about the eclipse? Will you watch? Do you have any special eclipse viewing plans?  I’d love to know…

*Set the Control’s for the Heart of the SunPink Floyd