Monday, February 7, 2011

2010 favorites

february inspiration board in my office

I got a disproportionate boost of pleasure when I put together this little office inspiration board for February. I used entirely things found in my bag and desk drawer. It is funny how this tiny act of creativity gives me such a boost. On bottom: a sheet torn out of the current issue of Whole Living, next, a sheet torn out of the fall issue of 3191 quarterly, and on top a Nikki McClure postcard. I'm going to try to change this board each month. It's nice to have something pretty decorating the office.

I put together a list of favorites from 2010. I'm still processing the old year and setting my goals for the new. I'm a little slow that way. Honestly, I think February is a good time for that. Things slow down a bit and I have time to reflect.

Favorites 2010

:: cookbook: Apples for Jam of course. I was so inspired by the writing and the photography in this book, and to make it perfect, her recipes are delicious. This was a very successful cookbook for me.

:: rediscovered old recipe: vegetable beef soup. We loved this soup over the fall and winter months. So glad I rediscovered it.

:: book: The Happiness Project. I'm planning to re-read this one soon. I love Gretchin Rubin and she is constantly bringing up interesting points about happiness on her blog (for example, I loved her post today about not keeping score).

:: movie: No Impact Man. I never did end up blogging about this last spring, but I loved the movie No Impact Man and was compelled to buy and devour the book as well. It's a true story (documentary) about a family in New York who attempted to live "no impact" for an entire year, right in the middle of the city. Their journey is fascinating. They found that the practice of simplicity brought them unexpected deep happiness. I was really inspired by this.

:: sewn project: "Mama's Bag," from Handmade Home, both version one and version two. I've used these bags constantly since I made them.

:: best new-to-me blog: Lady I Swear By All Flowers. I love Chelsea's honesty, her excellent writing, her aesthetic sense--her beautiful photographs and lovely apartment, and her two baby boys are simply adorable. I think she's part of a group of younger bloggers who are getting away from the "perfection blog" mindset and keeping it positive, but also real. So refreshing!

:: best new blog: Dinner: A Love Story. Again, so much excellent writing and wonderful dinner inspiration too. I love the philosophy of the blog: the importance of family dinner, even if it's hard, even if we can only manage four homemade meals a week, and even if not everyone's plate looks the same.

:: best family experience: a day in the mountains. Nature time with my family is the best.

:: best new recipe: Enviromom's bean bowls. We make this regularly on Monday nights now.

:: best successful experiment: freezing tomatoes from the garden for future use in the fall and winter. I loved having our home grown tomatoes for soups and stews in the fall. This year I'll surely freeze even more.

:: sweetest blogger ever award: it goes to Erin of Bluebirdbaby. Faith and I were lucky enough to meet her last summer and she is the real deal: positive, welcoming, down to earth, and passionate. Love her!

Do you have any favorites to share? I'd love to hear them.


Sarah said...

loved "No Impact Man" and now I find myself refusing packaging whenever possible...I know not a big thing, but I didn't really think so much about it but I do now. Your list is great, thanks for sharing.

Carrie said...

I've been tempted to contact Chelsea about getting my own picture taken since she is temporarily back in this area. But I am bogged down by the weather here. I'm glad you're blogging this week. I am headed to MS to see the oldsters and will need the uplift! Maybe the slower pace will provide time for reflection.

Andrea said...

Love the inspiration board--those mushrooms are great...and I love the list too. I guess I haven't taken too much time to be reflective about 2010 either, but some high points for me:

Favorite new food (to cook and eat): gnocchi ( ).

Favorite invention: Powdered chai mix to keep at work and add to black tea

Favorite treat: tomato jam (

Favorite sewing project(s): table runner(s) (thanks to you!): and

Looking back over my blog, I see a lot of fun...days spent outside, hiking or camping or playing with the boys; occassional days (or moments) to myself for reading, writing, sewing, and drawing.

2010 was a great year. Thanks for reminding me to take a minute to slow down and appreciate it.

Lake Effect :: Sara said...

I love Nikki McClure prints. I have my eye on a couple.

Bluebirdbaby said...

aw, i teared up a little reading that! thank you so so much! you are so inspiring too and i LOVED meeting you lovely ladies. you are both so beautiful, inside and out!
and guess what? i'm going to be in california mid-august for a wedding! where are you exactly??!

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog a couple weeks ago, but it reminds of you. I wasn't sure about it at first, but I keep going back to it. I'm really enjoying it:


Chelsea said...

Mary Beth, thank you so much for your kind words here. Made me smile so big at the end of a loooong day. +Chelsea

Mary Beth said...

Carrie--I love thinking of you checking my blog daily while you're in MS.

Andrea--I'm going to check out that powdered chai mix Sounds yum!

Erin--would love to see you this summer. I'll e-mail you.

Chelsea--so happy to see you here! I'm glad if I brightened your day just a little bit.

--Mary Beth

Hannah said...

Mary Beth - I have to thank you for recommending the Happiness Project earlier last year. I read it last month and it motivated me in the most incredible way! So many changes are going on in my life as a result of the book, including moving house!