don’t miss the magic

Feel like a little reminiscing?  Just start flipping through some old photos and Jamie will do the rest.  I love the chorus: "When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life, I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time."
Photograph

Here’s what Joan Anderman from the Boston Globe has to say about Jamie, " ‘Jack of all trades, master of none.’ That’s how Jamie Cullum, the young British singer, songwriter, and pianist described himself in an interview last year. Technically, he’s right. At 26, Cullum is neither a gifted jazzer nor an accomplished pop craftsman. But what he lacks in chops he makes up for in spirit and swagger. Cullum’s love for playing music is ferocious, and it’s precisely his scrappy nature and devil-may-care approach that make Cullum’s new album, ”Catching Tales," a pleasure."

chocolates too pretty to eat

Hulet_glassSurprise your sweetheart with these unbelievably realistic glass chocolates.  There’ll be no calories to worry about and they make wonderful little art pieces to collect.  catching fireflies doesn’t carry these lovely candies, but many galleries across the country do.

Patty and Dinah Hulet are the creators of  Hulet & Hulet Glass Confections. In their home studio on the rural coast of northern California, they have been perfecting the recipes for these treats for some time. They strive for the perfect balance of color, texture and design to lavishly translate the sinful decadence of gourmet chocolate and candy into the tasteful persona of art glass.

Box2vala Lovebitea

pink, purple and red… oh my!

Vday_2Dressing up the windows for Valentine’s Day is always a lot of fun for me.  I think it’s because of all the pinks, reds, fuchsias, and purples I get to mix together… plus I love feathers, glitter, sparkly hearts and balloons (can you tell I was the kid that made all the extravagant valentine cards for my classmates in grade school?)

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love always knows the way

These beautiful handcrafted pewter heart compasses make a unique and sentimental gift for a special occasion or event.  The hearts are designed by Rhode Island artist, Jim Clift and the compasses are actually functional…. so next time you’re feeling a little lost… just follow your heart.Jim01 Jim02

homemade heath bars

Homemade_heath_barsSteve and I stopped by one of our friend’s homes on New Years Day and tasted heaven…also known as homemade heath bars.  I insisted on getting the recipe so I could share this scrumptious experience with you. Just to warn you, these are HIGHLY addictive so if you have limited willpower make sure you have someplace to bring them so you won’t eat the entire pan yourself.

homemade heath bars

35 saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
5 (4-ounce) milk chocolate bars, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a 15 by 10 by 1-inch jelly roll pan (cookie pan with edges) with tin foil. Lightly spray foil with a non-stick cooking spray.

Place saltine crackers, salty side up, in prepared pan. In a saucepan, boil butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Pour mixture over crackers and bake for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven, top with candy bars, and spread evenly as chocolate begins to melt. Cool slightly and transfer onto waxed paper. Allow to cool completely.

anysoldier.com

Anysoldierfulllogo"Be the change you wish to see in the world" -Gandhi.  What better resolution to have all year long?

One easy way to show those who are serving our country that you really care is by sending them a package full of goodies.

Anysoldier.com makes it super simple to get started.  Just select a soldier from the listed postings.  Steve & I picked Tyler Atkinson because he requested guitar picks and strings, dvds, snacks and energy drinks. Steve loves playing the guitar so he took care of picking up those items and I chose a few movies and got the rest of the goods at the grocer. 

Then just grab a priority mail box at your local post office and send off the package.  Little acts of kindness go a long way.  A quote from their site reads:

"A soldier in Iraq can’t see your ribbon,
Or the flag at your front door.
But a letter they hold in their hands,
To them means so much more."
Supporter Liam Sweeny

aqualung brings the sun

SquaresThis handsome chap has won my heart with his song brighter than sunshine

Here’s what they’re saying about his latest album, "Matt Hales, the former child prodigy behind Aqualung, boasts major vocal, instrumental and compositional chops on his American debut, a combination of remixes and tracks from his two U.K. albums. Uniting Radiohead-ish British rock and symphonic pop in the masterly mold of Burt Bacharach, the Beatles and the Beach Boys, tenor Hales delivers keenly focused keyboard-based drama that blows away all pretenders trailing in Coldplay’s wake. Garden State soundtrack fans, take note." – Barry Walters

Take a listen for yourself…

chic champagne & strawberries

ChmpcktlSteve and I are headed to Grand Rapids to ring in the New Year with some of our close friends so I thought it’d be nice to bring a little bubbly and some sweet treats to the affair.

These recipes are fairly simple (a must for me) but bring big style to any festive soiree.

Champagne & Pomegranate Cocktail

1 sugar cube
1 fluid ounce pomegranate juice
3 fluid ounces dry sparkling wine
Pomegranate seeds, optional

Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute. Pour the pomegranate juice over it, then the sparkling wine. Drop a few pomegranate seeds into the glass. Serve.

Yield: 1 drink

Copyright (c) 2004 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved.

Strawblossom

Strawberry Blossoms

12 large, fresh strawberries, washed
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T
confectioner’s sugar

1 T sour cream

fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Remove stems from strawberries to form a flat base. Place berries on cutting surface, pointed end facing up. With a sharp knife, carefully slice each berry in half vertically to within a 1/4 inch of base. Cut each half into three wedges to form 6 petals. (Don’t slice through the base.) Pull petals apart slightly.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and sour cream; beat until light and fluffy. With a pastry bag and star tip or small spoon, fill strawberries with cream cheese mixture.

Notes & Options:
A plastic zipper sandwich bag can be used instead of a pastry bag by filling with cream cheese mixture and squeezing out excess air before sealing. Carefully cut one corner off of the bottom of the bag and squeeze mixture out through the cut.

For added sweetness, you can use strawberry flavored cream cheese instead of plain.

bonnie bond of basic spirit

Basic_spirit_bMeet Bonnie Bond of Basic Spirit.  She and her husband make wonderful handcrafted pewter goods.  A portion of her artist statement reads, "We love to design and create products that touch the heart and delight the spirit. All of our pewter is handcrafted in our seaside studio in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada. We use the highest quality pewter alloys available and are privileged to sell our products through many of the finest handcraft galleries and gift stores in North America.

Pugwash, a small village on the north shore of Nova Scotia, is known for its heritage of pewtersmithing and peace. It is the birthplace of the internationally respected Pugwash Movement which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.

We believe in supporting actions that are socially responsible, that help to sustain our planet and that enable the human spirit to thrive. 10% of our profits help to fund environmental and charitable organizations."

I love this quote they have posted on their website:

“From what we get we can make a living. What we give, however, makes a life."   -Arthur Ashe

Bonnie is also our featured artist this month of January which means you can enjoy 15% off all her designs online in our ‘just in’ section.  Just type "basicspirit" (no space, no quotes) into the coupon code at check out.  Some of our favorites are the heart trivet, inspirational necklace & box set and the humorous queen of ice cream scoop.Bas09 Bas04

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help build a better humane society

Humane_societyAs you might suspect, I’m not the easiest person to buy a gift for… but Danielle, the Berkley store manager, warmed my heart when she surprised me with a ‘catching fireflies’ brick donated to the new Berman Center for Animal Care.  I’m excited that catching fireflies has played a small part in helping needy animals find loving homes.  Thank you Danielle!

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