Monthly Archives: December 2011

autumn and early winter reading

A year of reading, with 27 books enjoyed in 2011. Here are lists of what I read from January – May and from June – September. And now, the last batch of the year: the books I read in October, November, and December.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout. A portrait of a woman in a small coastal town in New England told through a series of shorts stories from her perspective and through the voices of those in her community.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brönte. This classic never gets old.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. A biographer records the never-before-told personal history of a famous author at the edge of her life.

The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. A look at the history of Manhattan Island in the hands of its first occupants: the Dutch in New Amsterdam.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. A humorous tale of the consequences when one couple decides to forgo Christmas for one year.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. A story of a family who moves to a mysterious house on the coast of Spain. The children discover the dark secrets of its past inhabitants.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The first book of The Hunger Games trilogy tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, living a totalitarian society in which two children from each of the 12 districts are sent annually to compete in a game for their lives.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. The horror of the first book is on repeat when a second game is announced to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the games. Katniss finds herself back in the arena competing for her life.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. The final installment in which the capital government becomes the final opponent. I listened to trilogy as audio books and was immediately swept up in the action and lives of the characters. It was a perfect way to enjoy the dark, winter months.

I already have a small collection of books for the next month or two, but would love some recommendations. Which books did you enjoy lately?

Photo by azrasta

a year of de krat

It’s the end of the year and time to reflect on what has passed. One of my favorite (small) things of 2011 was discovering de krat, a box of local produce delivered to my door each week. Over the last few years, I have become more aware of the origin of my food and the importance of supporting local farmers. I was so happy to discover Amsterdam’s version of community-supported agriculture that is abundant in my hometown. Thanks to de krat, my cooking skills and willingness to experiment with new foods and recipes grew exponentially over the last half year. Looking forward to more in 2012.

on a rainy morning bike ride

Colorful geometric shapes spotted on a Thursday morning in Amsterdam.

all is merry and bright

Homemade cranberry sauce for a few dear colleagues and friends. My work is completed for the next week and my cousin arrives from Spain in the morning. I feel so happy looking forward to the next days of baking and cooking, friends, family, singing carols in a room full of lit candles, and giving gifts. I know many people feel a lot of stress around the holidays and I am thankful for the calm and joy we can find in the simple things, like placing a small jar on a desk.


Sweet wooden animals from Areaware. Designed by Karl Zahn and made from sustainably harvested new growth beech wood (via anothersomething).

black and white owl

Too cute (via w+d)

paper magic

Paper magic by Parisian animator Steven Briand (via curiosity counts)

weekend links #46

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed over the last week:
1. Ordering a print of Flora Study from Miles of Light’s autumn collection (pictured above)
2. Watching a performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Treehouse in Amsterdam
3. Making a rustic cabbage soup on a quiet Saturday afternoon
4. Reading through the reminders of simplicity in the project Need to Want Less
5. Spotting Whitney’s homemade holiday gift wrap (pictured below)
6. Seeing First Aid Kit perform at Paradiso on Thursday. Fantastic
7. Finishing one book and starting another. And an audio book too

a weekend in Berlin

A quick trip to Berlin last weekend included a visit to our favorite restaurant, shopping on Ku’damm, a long Sunday morning breakfast, and steaming cups of Glühwein at several Christmas markets.

Every time we visit Berlin (Marcus’ former hometown), I always wonder when, if we will ever move there. The city feels a little more familiar with each trip (and there have been many trips), but when we return to Amsterdam I feel a keen sense of Home. Maybe someday, Berlin.

wrapped trees


Wrapped trees by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Riehen, Switzerland.

Photo by Wolfgang Volz, 1998

O Christmas tree

The tree is up, the ornaments are hung, the first presents are wrapped, and the lights are glowing. This will be our first Christmas in Amsterdam – in past years Marcus and I have always visited family in Oregon or Germany – and therefore our first Dutch Christmas tree! Although I don’t think it was grown in the Netherlands, Bavaria more likely. It was strange to not cut the tree down ourselves, but we found a cute one at the flower shop around the corner. And probably the smallest tree I have ever had. It makes me so happy to wake up each morning and plug the lights in, casting a warm glow over the living room.

three buildings in Barcelona

Three scenes from my recent trip to Barcelona: a row of apartments, a museum, and an ancient church.

weekend links #45

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed over the last week:
1. Seeing this beautiful white birch forest topography (via design*sponge)
2. Hearing that a modern Korean restaurant will open in Amsterdam next year
3. Anticipating Berlin’s coolest Christmas market, the Weihnachtsrodeo
4. Listening to a not-too-bad classic Christmas music stream
5. Watching this cute video about owls, I think I need one of my own (embedded below)


de krat 2 December

In this week’s crate: leeks, cabbage, pears, a teeny tiny pumpkin, tomatoes, eggs, apples, bread, winter salad, Jerusalem artichokes, black salsify, and pink, orange, and purple beets.

the first of December

The beginning of December – possibly my favorite month of the year. Sparkling lights, songs of cheer, and wonder all around. Not to mention, a time for creative advent calendars.

Marcus and I will head to Berlin for the weekend, to dine at our favorite restaurants and sip Glühwein (mulled wine) as we walk around the Christmas markets. Next week, it will be time to put up a tree and start mailing holiday packages homewards. How will you spend the first part of the month?

snowy tree

Photo by Miz Booshay via constant wanderlust.