Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Year, New Calendars

Sakana Saijiki calendar, orange beautiful calendar, wild olive calendarThe new year is catching me completely off guard. Thankfully, I have a few calendars to keep me on track.

I bought the Sakana Saijiki fish calendar for Naoto. It is full of amazing illustrations of sea life and calligraphy that I cannot read. I’m excited to have a grid again. The calendars that I bought last year were all more decorative than functional. The fish calendar will hang in the kitchen, so it will be nice for Naoto to see what we have planned for the month.

The little “Things With Faces” calendar was a gift from Mollie. I’m looking forward to breaking out my colored pencils or watercolors and filling the pictures in each month.

And the Orange Beautiful calendar was a gift from Donovan. The colors and the fonts are perfect.

As far as a datebook for 2014…well, I’m still waiting. After a couple of months of waffling, I decided yesterday to go back to using Franklin Covey. Once my pages come in (MID-JANUARY!!) I will do a little post on my set-up.

Today I am cleaning house and stringing up a garland for our teeny New Year’s Eve party tonight. We are having dinner at Golden Steer and drinking cocktails at home and maybe making a few resolutions…

Happy New Year!

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Our 2013 Holiday Cards

Christmas cards 2013Our 2013 Christmas cards were sent, and hopefully they’ve arrived at their destinations near and far. As I mentioned in this post, I decided to stop putting all the pressure on myself to make our cards. Instead, I bought them. I picked up the Winter Greetings card a few years ago on clearance. I loved the little chubby bird! I purchased the Andy Warhol Christmas tree card this year at Paper Source. I loved its vintage look and tiny size. (I’m a sucker for tiny greeting cards.) And the vintage Season’s Greetings card was a gift from Jennie Hinchcliff who offered them up one day on Instagram. I could not resist those vintage beauties. Here’s a closer look at its charming church illustration and inside message:vintage christmas cardsincere christmas wishesIn case it’s unclear it says

To greet you sincerely at Christmas and to wish you Happiness in the New Year.

Sincere Christmas greetings? Absolutely. The card is gorgeously embossed–the church, the bells, the people and the tiny snow details are raised on the page. I had to save just one…the others went to lucky pen pals. holiday coaster paper sourceI ordered these holiday paper coasters from the Paper Source and added them with some of my cards. In a moment of bad planning, I realized that my Andy Warhol cards were too small to hold the coaster…oops. Naoto and I are using the leftovers for entertaining at home. They feel very festive, especially when cocktails are involved. christmas mailIn spite of having a table full of mail art stuff for the Christmas Card Writing Party, I didn’t go too crazy with mail art. I was having fun playing around with my handwriting and I just used some washi tape, rubber stamps and Stickles to add a tiny bit of pizzazz to the envelopes.

Holiday time is my favorite time of the year for checking my mailbox. People keep saying that no one writes Christmas cards anymore…I’m very lucky that many of my friends and family still value this tradition. A full mailbox is the best Christmas gift.

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Book Club Christmas Tea

book group Christmas teaLast Saturday, we had a Pleasant Home Book Club Christmas Tea at Peggy’s house. book group Christmas tea 2There were so many of us that we had to sit at two different and wonderfully decorated tables at Peggy’s.

christmas tea sandwichesWe enjoyed ham salad (made by me), egg salad, cucumber sandwiches, cherry almond scones, homemade ricotta, homemade lemon curd and homemade Meyer lemon curd (so delicious, I can’t even explain), Christmas cookies, champagne cocktails, tea…my tiny plate above was the first of many. Christmas Tea at Peggy's 3After we ate, we moved into the sitting room and talked about our book–The Cat by Colette. (By the way, The Cat deserves its own blog post sometime in January.)twilight at Peggy's houseIt happened to be the Winter Solstice, so we got to enjoy Peggy’s beautifully lit sitting room as the sun went down. It seriously is Christmas heaven over there…so many twinkle lights!

Thank you to Peggy for another wonderful Christmas time!

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A Fine Christmas Indeed…

2013 Christmas giftsIt feels like Christmas was weeks ago…

Naoto and I enjoyed our usual Christmas tradition of sleeping in, opening gifts, going to Mitsuwa and coming home for cocktails and Christmas dinner. The day felt long, in the best possible way. Naoto and SPAMNaoto had only practical (ahem…boring) things on his Christmas list, so I had to add in a little SPAM surprise. I think he liked it. (Also, I’m not sure why I picked an Instagram filter that made Naoto look like he hasn’t seen the sun in years…)

And, as always, Naoto chose the most perfect gifts for me (pictured at the top): Redemption High Rye, Burt’s Bees chapstick, a Vintage Email stamp from Wit & Whistle, a Kaweco Sport fountain pen and ink, a Paper Parcel Subscription from Saturday Morning Vintage and tickets to a Blackhawks game on January 5th!!

snow in the mitsuwa parking lotIt was a white Christmas…by the time we left Mitsuwa, it was snowing pretty hard. Thankfully the roads were clear (and empty!) for our drive home.

Christmas dinner tableChristmas dinner, tonkatsuIn the evening, I made Aviations and Old Fashioneds and set the table while Naoto cooked tonkatsu (recipe coming soon!) for dinner. Presley on the wine cabinet(During dinner, Presley lurked on the wine cabinet and watched us eat…not creepy at all, right?)evergreen candle from YearbookAfter dinner, Karen stopped over for a little visit…the perfect end to a relaxing Christmas.

(Presley sends her holiday wishes.) Presley and Naoto

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Merry Christmas!

christmas gifts under the tree

Happy Christmas! We hope your holidays are merry & bright!

Another Christmas Pin

Hallmark Santa pin cardLast year my pen friend Ana showed up on Instagram wearing this amazing Santa pin. I complimented Santa’s fluffy, feathery beard and about a week later, this card–a Hallmark Santa pin card!–showed up in my mailbox! It was the best surprise! His vintage face and tiny jingle bell make me smile. (Isn’t Ana’s fancy handwriting on the envelope wonderful?)

Santa didn’t make it in time for Christmas last year, so I tucked him away until this year. (Of course, I couldn’t find him at first this season because I tucked him away a little too carefully!) Now he’s proudly among the rotation of cheery Christmas pins.

Thanks, Ana! You & Hallmark are my favorites!

Whimsical Christmas Pins

vintage christmas pinsI have a significant collection of vintage brooches. Most of them could be categorized as “granny chic”. (You might remember when Mary added to my collection when she sent some fabulous selections from her grandmother.) But when it comes to the holidays, I like to wear whimsical kid pins from my own childhood (and thrifted gifts from my mom!)

The snowflake on the left is vintage Avon from my childhood. (You can see a better picture here.) I actually have two of them because I misplaced mine and randomly came across one in a box of junk at a flea market. I was over the moon to find a replacement for fifty cents! Of course, a week or two later, I found mine. (Doesn’t it always work out that way?) I love the sparkle from the Aurora Borealis stones.

The other snowflake is an antique store find. (It’s unmarked, and I couldn’t find one online.)

The bear in the box is from my childhood. I kind of remember it being a gift…but memories are fuzzy from way back then. He can be found here.

My mom bought me the owl at a flea market last year. It was perfect timing, since owls felt very trendy last year. (I’m still wearing him this year.) He’s vintage Hallmark and can be found here.

I’ve had the snowman pin since first grade. In grade school we drew names and did a little gift exchange every Christmas. Kyle S had my name and gave me a tiny box. This pin was inside. I remember feeling very special and grown up because I got jewelry from a boy for Christmas. My family still teases me about my attachment to this pin. I didn’t wear it for years because the pin part broke off of it, but my handy-dad fixed it for me last year and it’s in the holiday pin rotation again. He can be found here.

The Santa is from my childhood, I think. He’s vintage Hallmark (from 1981, according to his back) and can be found here.

The fawn is another flea market find from my mom. I love this one because of the green pipe cleaner wreath around its neck. He’s vintage Hallmark and can be found here.

Sigh…vintage Hallmark and vintage Avon…two of my favorite things.

Would it be weird if I wore all of my Christmas pins once on Christmas Eve? I kind of want to do it…like my own version of the ugly Christmas sweater.


P.S. Another sentimental childhood Christmas pin can be found here.

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Christmas Card Writing Party

vintage christmas party invitationOn Sunday night I hosted a little Christmas card writing party. I sent out some (last minute) vintage invitations from Saturday Morning Vintage. Aren’t they cute?glue pen and glitter on invitation It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but I added a touch of glitter to each wreath using my favorite glue pen and some Martha glitter. I typed up gold labels for the addresses (some were mailed, some were hand delivered) and embellished the envelopes with some washi tape. Fun stuff. christmas card socialI started collecting my holiday-ish supplies all last week. I have loads of things, mainly from making my own cards in the past. On Sunday morning, I covered the table with kraft paper and set out the stamps, tapes, inks, Stickles and stickers. (I learned from the best by attending so many LWA socials!) On Sunday evening, the ladies came over and we ate funeral buns (I told you they would be a new party staple!) and salmon dip and caramels. We enjoyed mulled wine and got more done than I thought we would! christmas card writing partyJackie already finished her holiday cards, so she painted some ornaments. Karen and I wrote our cards. I got through the L’s…not including my pen pals (because their envelopes are more involved than some of the rest of my list). Tonight, my goal is to finish them up…I’m in a mail art kind of mood, so it should be a fun project!

I’ll report back on the cards soon. I want them to make it to their destinations before sharing on the blog.

Have you finished your holiday cards? Have you been getting a lot in your mailbox?

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Oh Christmas Tree 2013

christmas tree 2013We got our Christmas tree the week after Thanksgiving. Naoto has been taking Thursdays off, so it was the perfect day to head over to Menards for our usual $15 tree special. We were going to splurge on a $25 fir. Their branches hold heavier ornaments better and we had a pine last year, so I thought it would be a nice change. But when the tree guy shook the firs, needles flew everywhere. When we shook this one, not a single needle fell. Decision made! Plus, there is just something so soft and fluffy about the longer needles of the white pine.

The tree guy at Menards was in good spirits and laughed at our “backseat method” of carrying the tree home. It felt like the tree stuck out a little further than normal this year…Menards tree guybackseat treetree in the elevatornaoto and the treeNaoto did all of the heavy lifting and I did all of the decorating, as usual. (He doesn’t mind it that way one bit…)Our Tree 2013After last year’s leaning tree debacle, I am happy to report that this tree is standing straight and tall. I lost my ornament hooks and had to improvise with a limited supply of bent paperclips, so fewer ornaments made it onto the tree this year. The ones that made it are the most special ones, so the tree is all right with me. And the sage green bedsheet/tree skirt is lame…you would think I would have a real tree skirt by now…but really, Presley attacks the tree skirt on a regular basis, so something not-so-precious is really the best decision. presley and the treePresley approves (and simultaneously tries to destroy).

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12/12…12 Years Ago

Naoto Kimberly 2002Twelve years ago today, I met Naoto for the first time.

In true Sophia Petrillo fashion…Picture it:

It was a Wednesday night. I got home from work, changed into my old college overalls and a Bears cap (clearly dating was not on my mind), grabbed a magazine and walked to the Daily Grind, a now-defunct coffee shop in downtown Oak Park. I spent quite a bit of time there on the weekends and some evenings, reading and drinking coffee, just to get out of my (sometimes lonely) apartment.

I got my coffee and grabbed a table by the front window. I was in the middle of reading my Sports Illustrated article when this guy walked in and began carrying on about some fire at the Old Navy. He was carrying a disposable camera and he was talking (really loudly) to his group of friends. I kept getting distracted and looking over. Pretty soon, he came over and sat at my table and struck up a conversation.

We talked about our jobs, running and coffee, we exchanged business cards and had a lot of laughs. He called me ‘Kimber” from the start. If it had been any other person, I would have thought that was weird and unacceptable, but for some reason, with Naoto it was okay…

If I remember correctly, Naoto’s friends gave up on him coming back to their table and we shut the place down. Since it was late, Naoto offered to walk me home. He seemed harmless enough, so I let him. (P.S. I would never do this today.)

I should add that Naoto was wearing a vintage Puma sweatshirt, high-water corduroys and sneakers…we made quite the pair.

I should also mention that there were several points in the beginning of our conversation that I looked down at my magazine and tried to give Naoto a subtle hint that I was reading. (If these were available back then, I might have used one…just to be funny.) But he didn’t take the hint and kept on talking. He was charming and interesting and funny so I gave up and finally put my magazine down.

Shortly after we met, Naoto left for Japan to visit his family. We emailed each other the obligatory “Happy Holidays” messages and kept lightly in touch until later that winter when I invited him to a party. I was hosting a “Table Warming Party” to celebrate the fact that my apartment’s dining room was no longer empty–I had bought a new table and chairs. My college friends were there, along with people from work and Naoto brought a couple of friends, too. It was one of the best parties I’ve ever hosted. It was a perfect mix of wonderful people, great conversation and fabulous (simple) food…and gosh, that was a great apartment.

The best part of the party–and the moment Naoto completely stole my heart–was at the end when he said, “Okay everyone, let’s help Kimber clean up!” Naoto led the charge of washing dishes and cleaning up the dining room and kitchen. It was of course wonderful to have help cleaning up, but I especially loved the fact that the whole thing extended the party just a little bit longer. I hate when parties end.

It wasn’t until a few months later that we actually started dating, but I think everyone who was at that party that night knew…even if I didn’t.

The picture above is the first picture of Naoto and I together, from the party that night.

Happy 12/12, Naoto. Putting my magazine down for you was the best decision I’ve ever made.