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Seven Hills

Boston-area exploration, travel notes, crafty things, and other Somervillainy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sunday Morning at the Museum

On weekends we trade off who gets up early with Henry, so both parents get at least one morning to sleep in. My early day is usually Sunday, and it can be a long haul when you're up before six and nothing in the neighborhood opens for many hours.

But ever since I learned that the Harvard Museum of Natural History is free to Massachusetts residents on Sunday mornings from 9 until 12, I've discovered where the toddlers of Cambridge and Somerville hang out during this otherwise dead stretch of time. The museum is crawling (sometimes literally) with tiny children scampering through the dimly lit hallways and glass cases full of exotic creatures and prehistoric fossils. It's quite a scene.

The museum really feels like a place from another time, especially the large mammal hall, which could be a set from an Indiana Jones movie. And I've learned about a few new creatures, myself, trotting after Henry as he dashes along greeting the various taxidermied souls.

flying squirrel

things that hop

English ferret and vulpine thing


Sunday, February 14, 2010


Origami hearts in the place where our lead-paint-encrusted fireplace mantel used to be.

Shaping these truffles by hand made me feel like Juliette Binoche (always a good thing) in Chocolat.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Ocean Side

It's always hard for me to decide which beaches to choose when we're visiting Cape Cod: bay side or ocean side. Bay side is warmer, more swimmable, but potentially funky smelling at low tide, and while great for wading then, way too shallow for swimming. Ocean side has dramatic dunes, waves, and sometimes visiting seals, but colder water and strong currents.

Today we tried ocean side.

We stopped at a Truro beach at the bottom of a high backing dune. It was a bit of a steep walk down.

No one in sight.

Sun sinking behind the dunes.

Looking out to sea.

Ocean side wins.

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Friday, May 08, 2009


Who knew there was such a nice beach so close to Boston? Well, I'm sure lots of people know, but for me the charms of Wollaston Beach in Quincy were a fresh revelation. Boston doesn't always showcase its waterfront location as much as it could, but here were beautiful ocean views, a nice stretch of sand, and at least four seafood stands to choose between for your lobster, clam, and ice cream needs.

I took a stroll there today with a friend who lives south of "Boston proper," and is thus more familiar than I with the ins and outs over there. This shot shows how close we were to the city. The sun was really hot, especially considering that just a few nights ago it was cold enough to turn on our heater, and the water was as smooth as glass.

After a sweaty walk along the water, who's up for a hearty meal of fried seafood? I am, I am! We chose Tony's Clam Shop, a 40+-year-old family business.

Tony's ran like a well-oiled machine. Lobster-shaped beepers lit up and vibrated when our orders were ready.

In spite of these lobster totems, I did not order a lobster roll, although I was as tempted as I am anytime one is on the menu. They looked generous and yummy, too. However, today I was in the mood for the (slightly) more economical fried clam roll, which also turned out to be generous and yummy. And the fries were notably crunchy and crispy.

A grand day out by the sea, almost without leaving town.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Open Studios

Henry and I spent part of this weekend visiting the Somerville Open Studios in our neighborhood, and it made me wish the event happened every weekend, since it turned our usually aimless, baby-soothing walks into an exciting quest, hunting down the bunch of orange balloons that indicated each studio. For example, who would have guessed that the beautiful work of Seven Hills Bindery is produced within this rather ominous and abandoned-looking building next to Union Square?

With an afternoon nap looming yesterday we didn't make it very far, but we had a great time visiting the home of artist and crafter Egg-a-Go-Go, just down the road from our house.

It can be a little intimidating marching into a stranger's abode, even one that is adorned with orange balloons, but this cute sign made us feel welcome, and the carton of Dunkin Donuts munchkins upstairs didn't hurt, either.

We admired artist Sarah Coyne's paintings (and charming home decor), and left, full of good cheer, with this adorable "button collector" pillow, a textile collage of silkscreen, embroidery and colorful buttons.

Today I needed to return some books at the library up on the hill by Somerville City Hall, so we stopped by two artists' buildings in that area, Pearl Street and Mad Oyster Studios, where we stepped out on a roof deck in the drizzling rain to admire a nearby park.

And the best art of the day: a cloud of fragrant blooming trees in front of the Somerville Library.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Handmade Spoils

It's so long since I've written anything here, but I've been sitting on some pictures I wanted to share of some lovely little handmade things I picked up over the holidays, although Christmas has long since come and gone. I went to the Bazaar Bizarre in Boston in early December with the intention of doing some holiday shopping for others, but as it happened, everything that caught my eye was just perfect for me, me, me, so Santa visited me a little early.

Because I am always blowing my nose (mild cat allergies? bad habit?), a little mini tissue holder in a mermaid-girl print from (I think!) Wonderland Q.

Scuba girl! Well, I don't know who she is, but I liked her intrepid (if a tad perplexed) adventuress look. The artist, illustrator and comics artist George Pfromm II, had a tableful of pen-and-ink characters, original art from his recent Honolulu Dogfight show. It was hard to decide which one to choose.

I love, love, love this mug from Hijacked Ceramics, so much so that I think I need to buy one more so my heart doesn't break if something happens to this one. Wait, let me go take care of that right now, before someone else snatches up the one I have my eye on ... okay, there, it's ordered. The mug is a nice, generous size with a big handle, feels good to hold, and has a beautiful, sanded-down texture that makes me think of time-worn painted tiles in faraway places like Morocco and Spain. Yes, I expect quite a lot from my morning cup of coffee.

I've still found it difficult to carve out time for making things, myself, with Baby H now in the picture, so I've been settling for micro-projects (and things like knitting that can be picked up and put down at will). Here's a paper garland I made from kimono-print origami paper (which now has a second life decorating the window in the baby's room). Originally I thought I would use it to decorate the tree, but I liked it so much I gave it pride of place over our fake fireplace.

So, until next time -- hopefully not another four months -- happy Groundhog Day! I love how ever since the Bill Murray movie, I think of it (and am sure I'm not alone in this) as a day that keeps happening over and over, instead of a peculiar holiday involving a small animal, shadows, and the promise of spring.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Lovely World of Egg Coddlers

I may not have had the time or attention span for crafting in recent weeks, but I can still show off the charming work of others. My friend Christina gave us a pair of china egg coddlers as a wedding gift, and along with it, a beautifully collaged little booklet, part instruction manual, part celebration of the art of egg coddling.

The inspiration ...

... which then becomes Egg Coddlers, the Book. Can a movie adaptation be far behind? I love the way the fruit motif of the paper perfectly echoes the design of the original china, without being an exact copy. How did she do that?

Admire the real wax paper wrapper layer on that stick of butter!

Helpful suggestions to make your coddled egg even tastier.

Bubbly textured white paper bubbles out of a pot of simmering water. I love the way the brown paper works as a background for this project.

Lovely coddled eggs are made even lovelier with the addition of toast and coffee.

The end! Yum.

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