Friday, December 22, 2006

Last of the ornament stories...

Jeff and I depart for Michigan today, so we leave our Christmas tree behind with Dobie and Buster. One of my favorite ornament "collections" on our tree are the dozen-or-so floppy figurines that Jeff has carefully selected over the past few years. We've got jolly Santas in various outfits, whimsical court jesters, and old time carolers. These lively characters appear to leap from every nook and cranny of the tree.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cookie day...

On Saturday, our friend Pamela--a photo classmate of mine at Ft. Mason--and her husband hosted their annual cookie decorating party at their beautiful home in Telegraph Hill. This was our second year, and we had such fun painting with colorful glazes and sprinkling with dots and sparkles other miniature bits. The cookies sparked imaginative conversations for a perfect December weekend.

Afterwards, Jeff and I walked a few short blocks to North Beach for dinner. We happened upon an intimate northern Italian restaurant--Da Flora--which served us the best gnocchi I have ever tasted--melt-in-your-mouth morsels in a bacon and sage cream sauce. (Jeff's hearty pork bolognese and my dungeness crab tagliatelle were certainly worthy dishes to follow.)

Inspired by our surprise dinner Saturday evening, I made a wonderful "Tuscan shrimp" dish on Sunday night. This simple dish from the Food Network was warm and flavorful, which was particularly nice on an unusually frigid SF evening. (Hey, I had a razor thin layer of ICE on my windshield this morning. For SF, that is C-O-L-D. :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

White House ornaments...

For the past several years, I've been buying the annual Christmas ornament from the White House Historical society. I began collecting when I bought my townhouse in Virginia. One of my coworkers used to take orders for the office. Since then, I've kept up the tradition and bought them to remind me of my DC Christmases. Jeff and I like the historical themes. Each ornament honors a former president, and includes a discussion of life in the U.S. during that president's term. The ornament to the left is the first I collected. The one below is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Prayers for Penn...

My prayers are with my Uncle Penn and his family today. Growing up, I viewed Penn as a strong man and a role model of subtle wit and kindness. After I became a Virginia Tech Hokie, Penn never missed a chance to poke a gentle finger after a Tech defeat at the hands of his University of Virginia Wahoos. Today, Penn just feels far away, but ever present in my thoughts.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Plugging strangers...

I don't normally cross-promote the Strangers Among Us group blog (even though I think there are some really fun photos and stories there). But today, I want to tip my hat to one of my fellow Strangers contributors, who brought former President Carter to our little blog party. How very cool.

Working with glass...

On a tree filled with glass decorations, one of my favorite ornaments is fake glass. I fondly remember making these pseudo stained glass ornaments with my mother and brother in the house where I grew up. In those days, our tree was mostly filled with things that Cliff and I made--blobs of felt, handmade frames with school photos, and melted stained glass. When Jeff and I spent our first Christmas together in San Francisco, my mother sent this ornament along to help start out our new tree.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ornament tales...

I never thought that I would be one of those "ornament collectors", but each year when Jeff and I pull out our boxes of ornaments to decorate the tree, I am taken back to trips we've been on or font memories of family members. So, since most of my rabid readers are not in SF, I thought I would share a few of the stories that our tree tells.

I thought I would start with one of our most recent additions. This glass ornament is one of four we brought home from Venice this year. We chose these, because they illustrate a classic Murano glass style where cross-sections of intricate glass rods are fused and shaped. We found this particular ball on the Venetian island of Murano, where a glassmaker described the uniqueness of each piece and how the different colors and shapes are achieved.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Holiday photo show recap...

Our annual Holiday Photo Show at Ft. Mason was a rousing success, once again. We had a continuous stream of people both Friday and Saturday, and moderate sales. (Moderate means some people sold a little, my dear friend Susan sold a LOT, and I didn't sell anything.) Nevertheless, the true measure of a good show is the positive feedback I receive from friends and strangers alike. Many many thanks to my friends who fought traffic and ravenous holiday shoppers to visit.

I've included the shots below that I had on the wall this show. Some (obviously) are from previous posts, since three are from Venice.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

December happens...

Time gets away from me each December. My excuse for not posting in over a week? Well, I did have a photo show, been decorating, doing Christmas shopping EARLY (well...earlier), went to a Christmas party, working on some photo projects, loading up my iPod with Christmas music.

But the house is beautiful, once again. And I'm in full Christmas spirit. And I'll be catching up on some missing posts as the week rolls along.