Photo Wednesday: Christmas Tonttus

Hi folks, Anna here …

This past weekend, Hanna and I were up in Maine celebrating an early Christmas with the folks. This involved a lot of good food, a Christmas carols service at nearby Colby College, and the creation of our very own tonttu for the apartment. Tonttu are Finnish house spirits that Hanna’s mother learned about from her Finnish parents and grandparents. Here are some photographs that we took of the process of making two tonttus. It took the better part of Sunday morning.

these fellows were our model tonttus
here are some of the supplies Linda provided
We started with a base of cardboard, Styrofoam, and felt
all self-respecting tonttus need hats
Mine is on the left, Hanna’s is on the right.
Hanna named hers Ibrahim; mine is named Helga
We brought them back to Boston on Monday to grace our Christmas shelf

While tonttu is the Finnish term for house spirits, some of you may be familiar with the Astrid Lindgren picturebooks which tell the story about a gentle tomten who cares for a family farm in Sweden. This is essentially the same folk character, though seen through the lens of a slightly different Scandinavian tradition.

I hope all of you are finding small and pleasurable ways of preparing for the holiday season …


Photo Monday: Maine and Back

This post brought to you by Anna.

This passed Saturday, Hanna and I drove up to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to visit with her mom and dad. Linda was exhibiting at the Maine Fiber Arts Showcase. It was a rainy afternoon, but luckily the fiber arts event was inside the visitor’s center.

As usually happens when we visit with Hanna’s parents, we drove north with things to give/return to them and they met us with more things for us to take south again … a new sweater for Hanna, the tam that Linda knit me for Christmas and finally blocked, and what Hanna has termed “the rudest thing ever”:

Kevin with the rude squash (photo by Linda)

In exchange, we finally allowed Shirley — the stuffed sheep from Michigan that we gave Linda for her birthday in July — to move to her forever home in Maine.

Shirley and Linda at Linda’s display booth (photo by Anna)

The garden is impressive in size and scope, although we didn’t get a chance to see much of it in the rain. One section is the fairy house village. I think this is where these magical creations were headed:

fairy houses in the garden library (photo by Anna)
a fairy castle? tree house? (photo by Anna)
Shirley got a bit chilled (photo by Anna)

When we got home, Geraldine was pissy because we had left her alone all Saturday — but she was somewhat mollified by the four new rag rugs we brought home, courtesy of Linda. Rag rugs are clearly for kitties to sleep on, not for humans to place their feet.

enigmatic cat is enigmatic (photo by Hanna)

Photo Wednesday: Back from Maine

Hi folks,

Anna here, standing in for your usual blog mistress — who is currently in the kitchen making a delicious veggie roast with fresh beets and onions from her parents’ garden and kale from our CSA subscription. Summer is upon us and, lo, we are drowning in vegetables!

the green tomatoes await

We spent the weekend in Maine with Hanna’s parents, who have an expansive vegetable garden and feed us three times a day on scrumptious baked goods (bagels, Finnish coffee bread, lemon meringue pie, chocolate chip cookies, ginger iced cream …) and fresh-harvested beets, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, and more. Here are some photos I took while we were there.


This is not a hummingbird house,
but the hummingbirds were everywhere

In which in indulge my enjoyment of windows and doors.

Flowers in the garden…

…and vegetables (cabbage in this case; yum!)

The woodshed.

The old Norridgewock  public library …

…and the model Hanna and her father made when she was small.

Two younglings at the artisan bread fair
grinding cornmeal using a modified bicycle.

Watch for Hanna’s return on Friday.

Rainy Thursday [Photo Post]

It’s rainy in Michigan, but earlier in the week, during a quintessential bright, clear summer day (we spent part of it in the hammock), Hanna snapped these gorgeous sun-drenched photographs.

lemonjello’s (Holland, Mich.),
the coffee shop where my sister worked in college
I’m not frowning, just squinting in the sun. Also, I look like my mom!
Brewery with bicycles (we bought some to take home) (beer, not bicycles)
Detailing from the facade of the building that once housed my bank
Marbles in the sun
Marbles in jars
Hand puppet
Loom in the window

Wednesday in the Woods [Photo Post]

As promised, photos from the Saugatuck Dunes. Photos by Hanna; selection and commentary by Anna.

On Sunday morning we went hiking with my (Anna’s) parents
One of the major things I miss in the city is lack of access to the woods
Woodland violets
I also miss Michigan sand dunes
And the lake (I am hot & sweaty in this picture)
Root washed up on the shoreline
I wish there was a way for us to live & work in Boston
and still spend time here every weekend…

Tuesday on Twelfth Street [Photo Post]

Welcome to part two of vacation photo posts, brought to you by Anna (text and composition) and Hanna (photographs). Cross-posted at the feminist librarian.

Toby takes a cat nap on the windowseat
Hanna’s personal favorite: sunlight through the
French doors
Dinner preparations
Basil tomato pasta = yum!

The (uncharacteristically tidy!) dining room table
Up to the second floor (bedtime!)

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s photos from our hike at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park.

Monday in Michigan [Photo Post]

Hey all; Anna here. Hanna and I are in West Michigan (Holland, to be precise) this week, visiting with my parents and various other childhood acquaintances. I haven’t been back here since October 2009. Hanna hasn’t been here ever. I’m showing her the stuff I remember, discovering with her the new stuff that’s happened since I’ve been away, and we’re enjoying not having to go to work for the week. We’re watching Season Two of Life on Mars and catching up on the leisure reading.

As I write this, Hanna is sitting next to me at the dining room table reading a history of coffeehouse culture in Europe, 1600-1720. I’ve been learning all the ways in which the responsible coffee user was supposed to ingest his/her drug of choice at the time (an hour before and after ingesting food, at as hot a temperature as could be tolerated) and all of the wondrous effects it was supposed to bestow.

Anyway. Here are some pictures from our Saturday walkabout. On Tuesday I’ll be bringing you photographs of domestic life at the Cook household and on Wednesday photographs from the Saugatuck Dunes State Park, where we went hiking on Sunday.

Later in the week, there may be more photos … or there might be a Friday Fun video. We’ll see what the vacation brings!

All the photos were taken by Hanna.

On Saturday morning we went to the local farmer’s market
It was nice, after two days in the car, to be out walking.
Miquel Fuentes, age 11, on his cello.
The turtle in the cello case is named PeeWee.
This was an addition to main street since my last visit.
We purposefully missed Tulip Time but the flowers are still blooming.
Sailboat on Lake Macatawa (latter-day Swallows & Amazons)

Stay tuned for Part Two (Hanna’s lovely photographs of the interior of my parents’ home) tomorrow.