The night before.


Christmas eve is almost always better than the main event. Quieter, simpler, dare I say more holy, or special or what have you? I dreaded Christmas this year. No cards, no presents, no holly jolly or bowl full of jelly. At the 11th hour, Pete Seeger carols saved the day. I fell asleep looking at the tree for the first time in who knows how long. The candles burned down.
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Our tree was nearly empty this year. Tokens and toothbrushes and the like. I bought pretty beeswax tapers and Micha decorated the mantel. We ate our traditional dinner in the living room, but were too full from 5 types of cheese to even touch the lobsters.  Seeing my parents snuggle and slow dance was the only present I really cared about, anyways. 

Hoping your holidays were filled with love and warmth.

In Oregon

 
My friend picked me up in the morning before my wreath making class in a little blue pickup truck. I juggled multiple Stumptown americanos, shawls, hats and cameras and we followed the Columbia River eastward to the falls. When I saw my first west coast waterfall, I smushed my nose up against the window get a better look yes, but also to hide my face. It was so beautiful I almost cried.


The wreath classes were so much fun, I didn't want them to end. I stayed up until all hours looking for later flights and the very next morning the same blue pickup truck collected me from the front door of the Ace. We headed westward through fields of farmland and forest and mountains until we hit the Pacific. I think now I understand what the line in this song means when he says "the mountains should crumble to the sea". 

My very talented friend Parker took these and many more photos of our adventures. Take a look at his work here.

Hi Portland.

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Do you live nearabouts Portland? I'm teaching wreath making workshops this weekend at the Bazaar. The Saturday class has sold out so we opened up a second one on Sunday. It's going to be a small class, so expect plenty of one on one goofiness and embarrassing Amy moments. The class is $40 and you get a pair of clippers, wire and a big old wreath to take home. The goofiness is free. 

Sign up info here.

Florida


Micha and I went to Florida to do the flowers for a party back in November. The flower photos will come later (maybe January?) when we all need them the most. For now, we can talk about the 5 days after the event when we drove our rental car through the southern most reaches of the state. It was nearly 85 degrees, and we walked along the ocean at night and wore sunscreen and swatted bugs. We saw swamps, lizards and palm trees. We traveled through West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, The Everglades and the Keys. I forgot about fall.
The adventure ended in Key West, the place our parents first met in the mid 1970s. My mom was 25 and my dad was 27. At sunset he was dancing along the docks with an african drumming band and my mother was in the crowd of onlookers. She went up to him, a stranger and street performer, and danced with him. 

It was so nice to see the place they fell in love- the banyan tree, the lighthouse, Terry Lane where my mother lived, the spots that have been told and retold into the family legend of The Most Romantic Meeting Story of All Time. Going back and wondering at the people they were then, I felt like a little part of their legend, too.

Uptown

I've got things to talk about that aren't tree peonies. Funny though, because I have no recollection of what they are. I've been digging in the troves of iphoto and found these from a photo shoot of a fancy interior designer. I wish I could have snapped a photo of the room it went into but it was all hush hush and no pictures please. Big black lacquered square dining tables with walls lined with magenta silk shantung and a crazy massive chandelier situation. I needed a photo name badge to enter into the service ahem servants entrance. Outside the building Gossip Girl was shooting.
There is a small thrill in peaking into lives like that. And an even bigger sense of relief coming home to a chubby cat, a studio littered with spent stems, and a life that doesn't demand once weekly manicures. Things as they are are okay by me.

Thanksgiving

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The turkey is in the oven and the table needs to be set. My sister and I are going to make some little arrangements with the last of the persian carpet zinnias and the deep red nasturtiums, cutting with reckless abandon since first frost can't be far off. My hands smell like onions and sage. I have slippers on. It's happening.
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IMG_3968 I had hoped to take some pretty photos at home of the progress, but I forgot my camera's battery charger back in the city. Without it, this weekend is going to be an exercise in appreciating moments as they happen. Moments filled with thanks and gratitude. And pie.

Millbrook: part two

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I must confess, my head is miles from Millbrook. I've spent the past week and a half soaking up sun in southern Florida after making flowers for a party in West Palm Beach hosted by the very same bride who brought us to Millbrook in the first place. But again we will suspend time and space to have a bit of fall dreaming.
IMG_3395IMG_3334IMG_3447IMG_3341IMG_3370IMG_3393IMG_3372IMG_3461To get to this little spot in the woods, we had to drive down the most precariously rocky, cliff-side, one lane path (to call it a road would be misleading). With foamy waterfalls on the left, mossy boulders on the right and swirling yellow leaves all around- it was textbook October. Sun-shiny, nippy, see your breath but forget the gloves October. To work outside in places like this, making meaningful things for people that appreciate them, and to call that work, is overwhelming.

Millbrook, New York

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Back when fall wasn't a distant memory, we went to Millbrook to do a wedding. It was at a private hunting lodge and the bride was a really fantastic New York interior designer. It took 6 of us 2 days to do the set-up and in between we ate chinese and huddled by the fire at my grandfather's old house in Connecticut. Leaves swirled, fall happened (and I noticed.)
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At some point I will show you photos from the tent, but until then read this interview or make this wreath.