Sunday, December 30, 2012

Year's End Giving

Just a reminder that you have until tomorrow midnight (in the States) to give to charities for the 2012 tax year. There are many worthy organizations to choose from & that we have some favorites is no secret. There are more worthies in the right sidebar under Who, What, Where, Why, How to Help. There are acute crises & long-term challenges. Whatever you choose, it will surely make more of a difference than you probably know. xoxo

Some of our favorites (alphabetically):

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)

Washington Animal Rescue League (in DC but helps animals everywhere)

(photograph by Beth Frueh)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Winter Butterfly

Idea for today. Here's an origami butterfly that's easy to make. Teach it to bored children & then go outside & take photographs like the one above. Start with a large piece of paper to learn the folds. Use leftover holiday wrapping paper for a colorful grouping. Clear instructions & a helpful video, here. So pretty. xoxo

(photograph by luminous grey)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best Photographs of 2012

The year isn't over yet but lists are being compiled as we type. (Most will be updated by year's end.) So if you cannot move because once again you ate too many sweet & spicy almonds, erm, some links below. (Top tip: make the almonds, just give most of them away. xoxo)

Kottke is an excellent source for photography in general; year-end lists specifically.

You can get lost in National Geographic's Photography section. Galleries galore. Fantastic.

The Guardian's best photographs of 2012 is a small but good list; not sure if it's a final cut though.

 (vintage photograph via From London with Love)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Santa Tracker

There's a new Santa Tracker this year by Google & it's very cute.This will keep little kids occupied for awhile & you can always use it as an encouragement-threat-bribe (that is a thing, yes). Doesn't work on cats, be forewarned. If they're driving you mad, the children, here's the National Gallery's free Kids Art Zone, coloring pages, & last-minute fuss-free crafts. Breathe! xoxo 

PS: NORAD's Santa Tracker is up & running, too.

(illustration from Miracle on 34th Street via LA Times

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice

Winter in the northern hemisphere arrives today with the solstice. There is nothing we can do about it; take heart that this means the days begin to get longer with every passing day. So you can fight it, or you can celebrate. Don't curse the darkness, light some candles. xoxo

A winter poem section with essay via The Poetry Foundation.

Everything you need to know about the winter solstice.

This photograph reminds us of a winter fairy tale, so here's a Czech version of a familiar story.

(photograph by Lissy Elle Laricchia)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Something Sweet ~ Jam Kolaches

It's down to the wire. Are you panicking? Been there, am there. If you've not done much baking yet but would like to, kolaches are super-easy & taste divine. Plan to make about three times the number you need. Seriously. Then give many of them away. xoxo

PS: Another delicious, easy cookie & it does not need decoration. Also, buy some prepared cookie dough (there are some decent ones at Whole Foods or similar stores, without a ton of additives), take out your cookie cutters & use up what time you have with decorating. This can occupy several children (& teens) for quite awhile.Still need ideas? GG Pinterest board with links to recipes.

(photograph by Brooke of Crackers on the Couch)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hand-tied Bouquets

Hand-tied bouquets are not just for weddings; they are for Christmas, too. So pretty & who wouldn't love one as a gift? (Yes, that was a hint.) xoxo

A tutorial (the font is small but it is quite clear so give it a go).

(photograph by Amy Merrick via design*sponge)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Hair

If your hair needs some help for the holidays or any day (especially now that static has arrived - boo), don't pull it out. Don't twist it into knots (or do, come to think of it), see these links. This one & this one are go-to hair for us lately. This one is on the menu for Christmas.

 Ten-minute holiday hair tutorials by Rubi.

In the thick of it, 3 fancy hairstyles for thick hair.

Pinterest-to-reality hair challenge (it worked out better than expected).

Pinterest board for more looks including lovely short hairstyles.

Now go play with your hair! xoxo

(photograph by Nishe)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Look for the Helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” - Mister Rogers

Some resources (PDF) from Sesame Street for parents & caregivers to speak with children about Friday's Newtown school murders.

Some ways to help the Newtown, Connecticut community.

The photograph of Fred Rogers was taken by Jim Judkis. His daughter Maura's thoughts in the Washington Post Arts blog about what it means to her & to her father. Lovely. xoxo

Friday, December 14, 2012

Easing into Christmas

It's been unexpectedly difficult to do (so far) this season. If you are feeling similarly, here is some inspiration via London & Toronto. Depending upon where you live, many of these ideas will transfer easily.

Annie warms up to Christmas in London, including ice skating at Somerset House.

Sasha's super-easy & delicious Nutella palmiers. Three ingredients!

The Clever Pup's Guide to Making Christmas Work. Hazel is so wise.

Here's hoping you are faring better in the Christmas spirit department. Decorating the tree this weekend surely will help. If nothing else, it is always fun to watch Giulia vs. the fairy lights. xoxo

(photograph by Gideon Mendel)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Lucia Day

To our friends in Scandinavia & around the world (& our niece Lucy), happy St. Lucia Day. For all sorts of what she calls "traditional-ish Swedish" recipes, it is hard to beat Anne's down-to-earth style & simple instructions. You don't have to make the more complicated saffron buns to be authentic (but if you do, let us know), there are three excellent pepparkakor recipes to choose from. It would be nice to use these Dala cookie cutters this year. 

So go do something Swedish. Maybe just go to IKEA & pick up a soft toy for the aid campaign? Then pop it into a Toys for Tots box (or another holiday collection local to you). xoxo

(photograph via Pinterest; still looking for attribution)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Annual Christmas Bird Count

The 113th Christmas Bird Count begins in the Americas on Friday & runs through 5 January 2013. This is important business & it burns holiday calories, too. (This is an important motivator for GG's editor:). Read here & if you won't be able to commit to this or don't live in North America, the Great Backyard Bird Count is in February. ciao-cheep-meow/xoxo

"From December 14 through January 5 tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations. Families and students, birders and scientists, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission - often before dawn. For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the Holiday season." ~ Audubon Society

(photograph by Michael Taylor)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Movies

Under-the-weather (again), ugh. But one thing that can help the stress of the holiday season (&/or feeling less-than-stellar) is a movie. Especially a favorite movie. Many movies are not necessarily focused on the holidays but have major scenes during that time of year (e.g., Bridget Jones's Diary, When Harry Met Sally, Hannah & Her Sisters, & Sleepless in Seattle are a few favorites). As much of a mess (narratively speaking) as Love Actually is, it is still enjoyable. And while there are many favorites, nothing will dislodge It's a Wonderful Life from our No. 1 holiday choice.

Here is the list of Holiday Classics on at our local AFI Silver Theatre (how lucky are we?!). And here is a post with some more good suggestions (& an excellent all round place to read up on classic film) from Paula's Cinema Club.

Make a list & go to the movies! (And have a pizza party while you're at it:) xoxo

(film still by Andy Scwartz via IMDb)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Pizza Party

Affordable & easy, we do this fairly often. (Yes, buy the pizza dough. Keep that to yourself unless forced to answer.) Here are six terrific ideas via Food52. And for those longing for an Alsatian tarte flambée (or flammekueche), this recipe is super easy & works well. You're welcome. xoxo

(photograph via Livet Hemma)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Hanukkah!

It's not sundown for several more hours (here & west), so if you're looking for last-minute (& easy) ideas,  look here. It's not too late & anyway, there are seven more nights of celebration. 

Poems for Hanukkah.
 Menorahs to make (including the simple olive oil lights above) & a cupcake menorah (yes!).

GG house latke (currently). And because that would not be enough links: 16 latke recipes (all good).

 A lovely Pinterest board, Handmade Hanukkah.

Now where is our Hanukkah party invitation?! xoxo

(photograph by Linda Pugliese for Martha Stewart)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Something Sweet - Soft Caramels

You can do this. (Stop sassing, yes you can.) Buy the thermometer you always say you will & then make these caramels for gifts or for a holiday party. The first batch we made are absolutely perfect for taking to a party this weekend. xoxo Via The Kitchn. (photograph by Emma Christensen)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stars, Planets, Heavens

"December 2012 presents a great big plateful of planetary delights, with all five visible planets shining in the night sky in the first half of the month...That’s only the start of what’s to come this month, as the new moon leaves a dark sky for watching the prolific Geminid meteor shower on the nights of December 12, 13 and 14, and the full Long Night Moon beautifies the night of December 27." ~ EarthSky Tonight

Things are a bit crazy here & it cannot all be blamed on the cat. Meanwhile, looking up at the clouds during the day & the night sky (or the online stand-in, oh my) is some relief. So, too, is reading through the stars, planets, heavens label on the Poetry Foundation website. xoxo

(mixed media print by Catrin Welz-Stein via My Modern Met)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


We've found (or re-discovered) so much great music the last month by using 8tracks. Lately, in addition to classic rock, flamenco, French pop, & holiday music are in heavy rotation. You won't be sorry. (We're just using the free service, so far.) As of today, there is no special GG mix-tape but we'll let you know. xoxo

"Algorithm-powered "personal radio" services like Pandora are all very well. But they don't feel nearly as personal as 8tracks, a music site where real people do the choosing of tunes. Members pick at least eight songs (hence the name) from their own collections, upload them and share them as handcrafted mixes that seem like a happy throwback from the cassette era. You can find mixes created by your Facebook friends or simply follow other members who share your tastes. And it's legal — the 8tracks people pay the necessary licensing fees to the music companies." ~ TIME's 50 Best Websites of 2011

(photograph by Nick Bartoletti)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Handmade Holidays

Yes, yes, one more thing to worry about for the holidays. Make stuff. Oh please, nooooo,  you squeal as you plug your ears. Don't stress out; don't worry about making something complicated or a lot of something complicated. Find something simple that appeals to you & try it. It can be relaxing. On our menu are these heart-shaped felt ornaments. If you're the Valentines-type, they can do double-duty, too.

Here are 101 Handmade Christmas Ornaments - go to it.

Keep up with Lori's lovely Handmade Holidays label for inspiration.

Remember Laura's snowflake curtain? She is also a prolific ornament maker. Easy, cute, free tutorials.


(photograph by Loreta)

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Eleven years ago today, George Harrison died. What a terrible day that was & he is so missed. But you can remember him by visiting the new George Harrison YouTube channel & watch the glorious Concert for George in its entirety (for 24 hours only). Remember to visit George Harrison (& UNICEF, too) for more information on how to keep up with news because there is always something to discover.

It's an under-the-weather day here so off for toast & tea & George. And a tumblr full of musicians with kittens.:) xoxo

(photograph of George at Shea Stadium via The Beatles)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sweet Paul Winter Holiday

The Sweet Paul Winter 2012 issue is live now & is lovely as always. There's a new(ish) website, too. So scamper on over there. Especially elegant is the silver & blue Christmas section. xoxo

PS: Fun video of a Sweet Paul photo shoot (via Decor8)

(photograph via Sweet Paul)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday

"On Tuesday November 27, 2012 charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

It’s a simple idea. Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters. Join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.

And together we’ll create ways to give more, give better and give smarter." ~ Giving Tuesday

We have our favorite organizations, obviously; but wherever you decide to give, please make sure it's a reputable charity. Check with Charity Navigator to feel better about your gift.

A special request: we're involved with Women's Centers International, a new endeavor. Please see the website for information. There will be a post next week but an extra shout-out for today is warranted.

(photograph by Angélica Vis)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Make Vintage Christmas Cards

You can use these images for something other than cards, of course, use your imagination. It is that time of year; don't yell at the messenger! Christmas & Hanukkah are popular searches on GG so we're giving the people what they want.:) xo/gg

Vintage Holiday Crafts is a huge source of clip art for nearly every holiday & occasion. You can even make your own vintage-style gift certificate--for anything. We won't waste anyone's time listing, just visit. The rules are clear & the site is generous. It's hard to believe sometimes that anyone would do something like compile an enormous collection just because...but that appears to be the case.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday at the Movies

The first real cold has settled in here. Groan. If not a cure, there is a balm for the suffering. Four Audrey Hepburn movies are currently on Netflix Instant (in the States): Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Charade, & How to Steal a Million. And it's early enough to rent one of the others - there are still rental shops, correct? 

If you'd like other film suggestions, try A Better Queue for Netflix; it's not perfect, but it's a start. One sees people complain on Twitter about the choices. Unless you spend all day, every day watching series television on demand (you know who you are) , there are plenty of choices. 

 If you prefer something French, this is from last summer. That feels like a million years ago. *sob* xoxo

PS: Roger Ebert is the best person to consult about Netflix Instant. Follow him on Twitter, too, & not just for film recommendations.

(Audrey looking out over Paris by Bill Avery)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a safe & lovely holiday. For some peace (& holiday decorating), here's a little advice from two years ago. xoxo

(photograph by Amy Merrick)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bird-feeding Basics

 "More than 100 North American bird species supplement their natural diets with birdseed, suet, fruit, and nectar obtained from feeders. Feeding birds can benefit them and also provides great birdwatching opportunities in your own backyard." ~ Audubon website 

Spare a Thanksgiving thought for the birds in your neighborhood. Here's how to set up a simple system for everyone to enjoy. Including the resident feline - who should be kept indoors!. >^^<

ciao-cheep-meow xo

(photograph by Sam Plant via Lolita)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

IKEA Soft Toy Aid 2012

The global IKEA Soft Toy Aid holiday campaign has begun. Through 29 December, for each soft toy (or children's book) purchased, the IKEA Foundation donates $1.00 (or 1 Euro equivalent) to UNICEF & Save the Children

We'll post updates & reminders throughout the season, but if you're shopping this weekend, please keep this campaign in mind. And to double your donation, think about dropping an IKEA soft toy off to Toys for Tots or another local toy campaign drive in your town or country. 

Here is the charming Soft Toy Aid video to brighten your day.


(photograph via IKEA)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Knit & Purl

It's not that difficult & it feels good to start (& finish) a project that has nothing to do with actual work. It can be expensive to knit a sweater, sure; but choose a scarf or mittens, a hat, to begin. Look for yarn sales. Choose something that will be easy to set down & pick up again. Advice from us to you: do not decide to knit your Hanukkah & Christmas gifts this year. Listen to the voice of experience here - don't do it. The stress is more than you can handle. 

Free (!) knitting links & these are but a very few. Google 'free' & 'knitting' - wow. (Also, 'poetry' & 'knitting' - really interesting what comes up.)

Basic Knitting via YouTube

Join the online knit & crochet community, Ravelry, for free.

Knitting Pattern Central is huge & free; it has lots of tutorial links.

A poem about knitting (sort of:); and knitting for poets.


(Vanessa Redgrave & Natasha Richardson, Rome 1968 via MSNBC)

Friday, November 16, 2012


This holiday season, along with the forced bulbs, poinsettia, & roses & lilies (a favorite combination), finally buy the potted orchid that you've thought about every single time you walk past the display. At many markets, especially Whole Foods, there are lovely simple ones at excellent prices. And easy to care for, too (so it is rumored:).

Beautiful photograph by Jessie Roth via automatism. Visit Lori's flower label for inspiration & some relief from this crazy world.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Prince Hat

"The way we met, it all happened so fast." A favorite illustration by wonderful Swedish illustrator, Patrik Svensson. Here's the archive, here's why his site is called Prince Hat. And yes, there is a tumblr. (Many of you know Patrik's minimalist typographic movie posters project.) xo

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Something Sweet - Chocolate-Peanut Butter Acorns

These are super-cute & easy to make for tonight (or tomorrow). More no-bake desserts, here.
More anon. xo/gg

(photograph via Martha Stewart)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fractal Flowers

"Fractal art is a type of digital art that's considered new media. It's not drawn or painted by hand, rather, fractal-generating software is used that relies on mathematical calculations to visually display objects." ~ via My Modern Met

Italian-born Silvia Cordedda's flower images are gorgeous; see many more at My Modern Met & on DeviantArt.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hello, November

This catching up business is taking longer than expected. That is the thing with plans, isn't it?


 Live longer with naps (the Greek way).

Poems for Veterans Day (or Remembrance Day for Commonwealth nations)

Pinterest introduces secret boards (finallly!).

Bring the outside inside.

Have a lovely weekend. xoxo

(photograph by Liivia Sirola)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Persephone Books

Thank you for being patient while we catch up from the campaign (& other time hogs). Yesterday's mail brought the always lovely Persephone Books Biannually & a new bookmark. Very much looking forward to reading this latest re-publication

 There is also new website to explore which was needed but the twice-a-year mailings are wonderful, so do sign up for them.

(The Reader by Henry Lamb)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Yes We Did (Again)!

Everyone knows the hardest part is next. But for today, we're taking a nap. Thank you so much for the warm wishes from around the world. xo from us to you.
President Obama's victory speech last night was wonderful. Watch it here. Dance to a Stevie Wonder, here. And consider visiting Washington, DC (& us!) for the Inauguration. Seriously.


(photograph via Guardian Tumblr/Getty)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Go Vote

There's just nothing else to say (although much is being said, of course:). 

If you're not in the States, the BBC's US election coverage is a good place to watch what's going on today & tomorrow.

A take on the poetry of Barack Obama's campaign. Has he rediscovered it in time?

From the Poetry Foundation, twelve Presidents & the poets who inspired them.

If you are in the States & have not done so, think seriously about calling campaign headquarters & asking how to help. People need rides to the polls & voting assistance. Thanks!


(illustration by Lisa Congdon for the #GoVote project via Swissmiss)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: How to Help

The destruction, the news is overwhelming. So really, the best thing (IMNSHO) is to donate to the American Red Cross. If you are in a storm-affected area, then you most likely know where & to whom you should reach out. If you are not (or are unsure), here's a link that will be updated.

An organization close to our heart is Mitzvah Circle. While they help people across the country, they are located in the Philadelphia area & are assisting people hurt by the storm. Please help them if you can.

If you can & have not, please vote early.


(Photograph by Saul Leiter)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Have a happy & safe evening. Many people have had to cancel or scale back plans. Or plans are on but there wasn't time to get ready. Here are some last-minute ideas.

 If you are able, please donate to the American Red Cross for storm relief.


(vintage postcard via Vintage Holiday Crafts)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Paper Moon

"It wouldn't be make-believe, if you believed in me." 

Stay safe. No full moon tonight for us on the East Coast. xoxo

PS: Here's a great version of the song by Ella Fitzgerald

(photograph by Lissie Elle Laricchia)

Saturday, October 27, 2012


This subject has been on the to-do list for some months now. Truthfully, it will fall to a photographer but if you'd like to give it a go (or want to improve/need inspiration), a few links:

Five tips for better self-portraits.

Why you should take self-portraits (tutorial).

Famous photographers' self-portraits (in mirrors).

If the idea of taking a self-portrait makes you want to stuff yourself with simple carbohydrates, make this spiced applesauce cake. We are doing this very thing as a terribly large storm churns its way north. Be safe if you're in the path. The cat & obedient servant are packing up & heading to northern Virginia on Monday morning.


(photograph via Kottke)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cat Bounce

In case you missed it: Cat Bounce. (via Swissmiss)

Back to campaigning. Only 11 days left. Please check to see if you are eligible for early or absentee-in-person voting. 


(photograph by Leslie Kirchoff)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Not light as a feather (again, yet) but getting there. Ten pounds by ten. (Update: nope, 14 pounds, or a stone if you're British:)

Thanks to:

Gina at Skinnytaste

and lots of walking.


(photograph by Sofia)