Happy New Year!

Are you enjoying this first week of the year as much as I am?  It’s cold and rainy here in the Bay Area.  Perfect weather for packing up the holidays and unpacking plans for the year to come.

I’ve spent the last few days moving things from one floor to another trying to restore order here at home.  We had holiday house guests for nearly three weeks—so fun!  But that meant that every room (including our glamping tent), every dish, and every linen was pressed into service.

Also, things piled up.  Papers, mail, recycling, laundry. So the last few days have been spent sorting and savoring the season (not to mention the remaining holiday treats.)

My mother-in-law always says “a change is as good as a rest.”  Vacations—and aren’t the holidays a vacation from our everyday life?—often leave me energized and ready to tackle old projects anew. This week as I put things right I’m already scheming about new design projects. Specifically I’m ready to start feathering our new nest with furnishings more appropriate for the home’s era (contemporary) and feeling (spare but comfortable).  First up—some Pinterest planning sessions and then the hunt will begin.

But before I dive in I’m taking a moment to enjoy a few new items that found their way under the tree.

First, a Pendleton wool blanket as a winter topper for our bed. We bought one in the Yellowstone pattern for our guest bed years ago and I’ve always enjoyed the weight of it when mid-night insomnia drives me to the guest room to read.  Wanting to enjoy the same cozy sensation in my own bed I chose the graphic San Miguel pattern to enhance my winter’s sleep (and M.J.’s, of course, which is why I gifted it to him).

Next, a beautiful new pot to make winter stews. Over time I’ve gravitated to Le Crueset cookware for most all my stove top stewing and braising.  However, the LC pots I owned ranged from small to medium in size and were purchased in Cherry Red to match our old red-accented kitchen.  I was making do with some well-worn stainless steel pots for larger cooking projects but hinted that I might be ready to upgrade.  M.J. picked out this beautiful 7.5-quart model in Ocean (exclusive to Williams-Sonoma) to match our teal granite countertops.  What a luxury to make winter soups without worrying about them spilling over onto the stovetop. Eventually I may find a place to store this dreamy enameled pot, but for now I love how it commands center stage on the cooktop.

And finally, some hand carved “toaster tongs.”  This is a little kitchen tool that I bought in volume for gifts this season after picking one up while reporting on the ACCA Craft Fair here in San Francisco last summer. These may seem silly (after all, can’t we all fish our toast out of the toaster with a fork?) but these ingenious little tongs are pleasant to the touch and—due to a little magnet that keeps them attached to the toaster—always accessible.

How about you?  Were there any home gifts under your Christmas tree that you’re savoring in the hushed aftermath of the holidays?  And what plans are you cooking up for your house and garden in 2016?


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One Comment

  1. Posted January 7, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh I love your presents! The blanket’s beautiful. I too wangled a new Le Creuset, but small, as I only had the big ones. And toaster tongs, so elegant and so practical.

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Kathryn Pritchett

writes about Things Elemental — where we find shelter, why we connect, what sustains us and how we strut our stuff.