Christmas Wishlist

With shopping and the holidays well underway, I’ve seen some really great items that I’m pretty sure I just can’t make it to spring without:

1. Estwing Camping Hatchet, $43, 2. Stanley Flask, $15, 3. Riedell 117 Red Ribbon Ice Skates, $102, 4. Mackinaw Cap, $50, 5. Bulleit Frontier Bourbon, $32, 6. Anonymous Ism Deer Socks, $28, 7. Staghorn Steak Knives, $198.

Living in TOAST

TOAST is a British-based company that purveys clothing and goods for the home that have a distinctively rustic-bohemian spirit. Their lookbooks are filled with landscapes, details, buildings, and textures that engulf the senses and evoke a strong desire to adopt the environment and lifestyle of its pages. It makes you actually yearn for cabin fever.

Here are a few of my favorite images from their Autumn and Winter catalogues. Sadly, they do not ship to the US, but you can download the lookbooks and check out their Christmas book here. All I can say is baggy sweaters and pajamas never looked so good!

Now, if they’d only ship to the US…


Recently, I’ve had a fetish for quilts; though I can’t say I like very many of the patterns, and must add that there are more garish color palettes out there than otherwise! Quilts, when done right, can bring an instant extra cozy to a room, but when not carefully selected can look too country–to walk this fine line, I think you need to keep the pattern simple and the color palette sophisticated.

My two favorite quilt patterns happen to be the two that I own. Both are traditional North American patterns, and both are vintage examples bought on Etsy.

The first is Log Cabin:

I love the rich, earthy color palette of this quilt and its fabulous use of scraps from clothing. This quilt is in need of some TLC, but I’m looking forward to making the repairs it needs this winter.

My second quilt is in the Flying Geese pattern:



some other beautiful quilts, these ones from the Semiologie Collection, can be found here at Felt & Honey.

Before & After: Dining Room

I’ve finally gotten around to tidying up and taking some pictures of our cabin-redecorating. This was a project that came to me after getting married and coming home to our apartment–nothing felt different and everything looked the same. We finally had all this fine china and no place worthy of eating on it. While fine china is not generally a part of my vision of cabin life, my husband and I do dream of owning a cabin as our first piece of real estate. This is at least several years down the road yet, but the inspiration was a great jumping off point for decorating our Chicago apartment with the cabin in mind.

Our dining room is the first transformation I’ll be sharing with you:


Before, the dining room was actually our office!


The dining room. This change was relatively inexpensive. We traded up on our former formica 1960s table for this Milo Baughman Parsons at a loss of $100. The chairs are outdoor bistro chairs from IKEA, $15/each. The credenza was a midcentury piece bought on craigslist for $125 and holds all of our china. The painting above it was $18 at a thrift store, I repainted the frame and added the letters on a whim. The lamps are also IKEA, $6/each, plus grey linen lampshades from Restoration Hardware, $5/each (on super sale). The framed maps are from the National Geological Survey and were about $8/each; the frames are IKEA, $20/each. The mounted antlers are a purchase from an auction, and were $15/each. We painted the room grey (a color I’m currently obsessed with), Olympic Thin Ice–I don’t like the name, but it is a true shade of grey, no blue or purple or brown in it to my eye.

It feels so much more grown up!

The Red Clover Cabin

All I want for Christmas this year is a tiny little cabin in the woods. Its ALL I want pretty much every year, and this time I’m getting one (at least for a few days). If you’re looking for a Wisconsin cabin getaway, I think Anne’s Red Clover Cabin is going to melt your heart! I can’t wait to see that meadow filled with snow and cozy up inside for a quiet holiday celebration. Did I mention you can bring your dog?

Anne’s cabin is available to rent via

I’ve been away…in the hills of the Blue Ridge

I’ve been away for a while, its true. My apologies! Life-work balance is not always so easy to achieve…

Last weekend we went back to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia for a five-year college reunion. It was weird to be back, and with nearly half the class of 450 returning, full of friends and familiar-nearly-forgotten faces. Located in the Shenandoah Valley, we drove the famous Skyline Drive that winds its way through the National Park along the ridge-line of the Blue Ridge Mountains on our way to town. We crossed the Appalachian trail many times and felt glad to be back in hill country and privileged to see the beautiful aerial views of an early autumn in the mountains.

Recently, Garden & Gun featured a recommended trip for the Blue Ridge Parkway with the top 20 stops to make along this historic and breathtaking stretch of national scenic by-way that meanders along the mountains between Virginia and North Carolina, some of the most beautiful gentle, wild landscape this country has to offer. This stretch of road was our honeymoon destination, which we drove in a 1963 red Buick Skylark convertible (a rental!), staying in boutique bed and breakfasts, hiking, wining and dining for two weeks. It was relaxing, beautiful, casual, and romantic.

If you like fresh air, Southern food, and mountain views, I cannot recommend this trip to you enough.

Read about G&G’s recommended stops in their article Head for the Hills , book your own classic car rental here, and feel welcome to contact me for other recommendations, too!


Chatham County Line Tonight!

Chatham County Line performs tonight at the American Legion 42 of Evanston, Illinois as a part of their Bluegrass Legends Concert Series.

“We honor our veterans and servicemen by providing true American music in an American setting.”

Looking forward to checking out this new venue!