My Favourite Presents

Right after Christmas I almost broke my vows.  We all get the temptation now and then don’t we?  But we have to be strong and realize that there was a reason we made our vows and no matter how strong temptation is, we have to be stronger.  I am thankful to report I had the strength to say no and my life is better because of it.

I made a commitment to relax and I needed to respect that.  So instead of writing a post about all the Christmas presents I was so excited right in the middle of my vacation … I decided to enjoy them.  I’d have time to post later.  Lots of time.  Probably an entire year in fact.

My relaxation vacation is over though, so I feel compelled to show you a few of the things I got for Christmas this year.  Partly because I’m a show off and partly because I think they’d be good for you and partly because the presents I got will give you a little more insight into the kind of gal I am.

I’m very complex.

I got other presents that I love just as much as the following but I ran out of light and was forced to stop taking pictures.  So to my niece who gave me this beautiful robe from Anthropologie … I love it.  And to my sister who gave me the Haitian salad bowl made by “Albert Einstein” … I love it.  In fact, everyone just please assume I loved your gift, I just ran out of light to photograph it.  Or I hated it.  One or the other, anyway.


What it is:  Staub La Cocotte pot in “Titanium” with optional Rooster handle.

From:  The Fella

Why I love it:  What’s not to love.  It’s a Cock Pot.


Cock Pot



What it is:  The entire Little House on the Prairie collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder

From:  The Fella

Why I love it:  To satiate my obsession to go back in time and be a pioneer.  But I get to take my black leather Prada purse which would be excellent for gunpowder.


Little House



What it is:  12″ Peugeot classic pepper mill

From:  Betty (my mom)

Why I love it:  I’ve never had a pepper mill like this.  It’s the classic mill as far as I’m concerned and I love the classics.  Plus Peugeot has improved how pepper is ground by adding a rotating silver ring at the bottom of the mill where you can turn it to select 6 different grinds from superfine to super coarse.


Pepper Mill


What it is:  Official Mark Ryden “Rose” pendant.

From:  The Fella

Why I love it:  I love Mark Ryden and his often extremely dark Pop Surrealism.


Rose 1


And yes. That’s a little girl crying blood. Her name is Rose. I love Rose. You may remember Rose from American Idol last year. Steven Tyler wore this Rose pendant on one of the episodes. I don’t watch American Idol, but one of my sisters called me screaming about it. That’s how I know.




What it is:  Cookbook

From:  The Fella

Why I love it:  I’ve wanted this cookbook by local chefs Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann since it came out.

Cookbook 1

It  can be bought in Jeff’s restaurant “Earth to Table Bread Bar” or on or

Bettina just happened to be “pastry cheffin'” the day the fella went in to pick it up for me so she signed it.  Yay. Jeff Crump wasn’t at the restaurant at the time so he didn’t sign it. Boo.


autographed book


The cookbook follows the mantra of chef Jeff Crump.  Eat local. Even if you aren’t a freakzoid environmentalist, local food when bought in season, just plain tastes better.  If it’s spring … eat asparagus.  If it’s winter … eat beets.  That of course is just a summary in my own words, but it gives you the basic sentiment.  Jeff and Bettina preach what they pray and use local food sources for the restaurant and even go so far as to grow and mill their own wheat into flour.  The book is divided into recipes for Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.   I’ve tried 2 fall/winter recipes so far;  his pizza dough and onion rings.  Both were absolutely perfect.  My plan is to cook every recipe in the book.  Even the venison pie.  God help me.

Cookbook 2


What it is:  Rowan Yarn & a sweater pattern plus beautiful knitting needles

From:  Betty

Why I love it:  It helps force me to relax.  Plus, being the pioneer that I am, I love sitting by the fire, watching television and knitting.  Before you say pioneers didn’t watch television … they DID.  They just called it a window.

Yarn 2


And yes … the sweater knitting has begun.  Thusly, so has the relaxing.



What it is:  Seriously?  It’s a bat for God’s sake.

From:  The fella.  Who else?

Why I love it:  I just do.  I have a thing for creepy stuff. I find this little bat fascinating.



As you can see … it’s a bat in a box.  Which makes it considerably fancier than a regular bat.

Bat in bookcase


I’m especially fascinated with his/her tiny little teeth.  I love the bat.

bat 2



Don’t worry, it isn’t a genuine mummified bat. I think it’s actually taxidermied.


Have a great weekend!





  1. charm says:

    Happy New Year! Cute post and great gifts from your fella. Karen, just wondering, does yer fella have a brother??

  2. Michele says:

    Awesome gifts! You scored, woman! I love that bat! Wish he would have been under my tree this Christmas….drats! Santa better be paying attention…next year this girl wants a lovely & creepy dried bat 🙂

  3. Marti says:

    Didn’t see the bat coming. But ok.
    I also didn’t know Steven Tyler wore chick-stuff. Wait… yes, I did.

    I recently resumed knitting. Bought some “little Big wool” in Onyx! Mmmm!) What kind of needles are those, please?

  4. Mary says:

    Lucky Lady! I covet both the Cock Pot and the Peugeot. If you ever hear a fox in the henhouse, it may be be on a late night raid! Be very careful.

  5. marilyn says:

    well of course you like keep your knitting in a blue mountain pottery vase for petes sake! i used to give my dad an ashtray like that for fathers day every year..great gifts karen and you deserve them. happy new year

  6. Brenda j says:

    Books…gottem` when I was about 14. An Aunt who taught me to knit, sew, and embroider etc. gave them to me for my Birthday.
    Took me a YEAR to knit a sweater…same denim type shades as vous…. and after said Aunt saw what I had created; she told me to THROW IT OUT!
    I don’t knit anymore. LOL.
    Got a Cook Book for new Crock recipes, such great flavors come from crocking. That doesn’t sound right.
    Batty…nice touch. Original,as are you and thats as it should be.
    Happy 2012 Karen.
    Cheers till the world ends. Damn Mayans sure know how to kill a mood huh.

  7. magali says:

    Many years ago I took a class called Museums in Natural History. In one of our lab classes we had to stuff a mouse the right way so that it could then be integrated into a museum collection. We were allowed to take the mouse home when we were done. Well I didn’t do all that hard work for nothing, so I took the mouse to show it to my family. My boyfriend loved the mouse, named it Élouise and kept her in his bedroom for years. That is until I moved in. No matter how fun it was to scare people with it when they came over, I was not going to share my room with a mouse that I personally stuffed with coton. So it went to the garbage. Had I known, I would have sent it to you!

  8. What a great post. Love how thoughtful all your gifts are! Looking at all your gifts which you claim will give us insight into who you are, I would guess you are a Goth Farmer. (That’s not cuz I know you have chickens) Am I close? PS…The bat is very creepy. I had one flying around my bedroom one night when hubby was out of town. Not fun. I threw the blankets over me and fell asleep. The next morning when I realized what had happened, totally freaked out, I creeped downstairs to the mainfloor and was lucky enough to find him glued to the screen on an open window. I quickly shut it and then, when I worked up enough courage, I put some water in there for him while he hissed at me. i kid you not, he was hissing. I do love bats in a ecological kind a way. So I had to go outside and pry the screen open so he could escape. I realize now, his escape consisted of, Back to my Attic. I was able to humanely get rid of the bats permanantly with the help of google, a tube, some plastic, and duct tape. I left the tube in place for a few years…probably cuz I was a tad lazy. I eventually fixed the hole where they were getting in. Anyways, as I just wrote a blog post in your comment box, I will leave you with… Happy New Years! Love love love your blog 😀

  9. Love the cockpot and the bat! Oh yah…my uncle’s a taxidermist down in NS and I have a few animals here in my home….they creep some people out, but I love them in a strange way. xo

  10. Brenda says:

    Karen..You are well loved.

  11. Your Fella certainly knows you well, and you two are obviously well suited!
    If my guy gave me a bat I would kill him. With the bat.

  12. Steph says:

    I knew I liked you for a reason (other than you’re funny, and sometimes helpful). You’re a knitter! I like the bat too; though as a vegan I don’t think I’m supposed to like taxidermied animals. Oh well, no one’s perfect.

  13. Nicole2 says:

    Oh wow, Karen, you got pretty cool gifts!! I have to come up with better gift ideas for myself. Love that wool. You have to show us the finished product.

    My favourite thing in all your pictures though is that pretty blue egg. It’s so pretty I could cry.

  14. Alice says:

    Is preaching what they pray the same as practising what they preach?

    When I was little, my best friend had a stuffed bat mounted on a stand — we loved it!

  15. Danielle M. says:

    Hey there!

    Ok, so I have a logistical question, knowing you have cats. The whole knitting thing sounds awesome. Truly. And I love pottery, so when I saw how you were holding your needles, I drooled a little bit. Then I remembered you have a cat. And since I have a cat, I realized that in my kitty-kitty’s world, having such a lovely display would. never. happen. Because she would think the needles were toys for her to bat around and such. So do your cats leave that alone? Or was that for staging?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

    • Karen says:

      Danielle M. – Nope. That’s how I keep my knitting, it’s not staging. I normally just keep my ball of wool on the floor while I knit on the couch, but it rolls and moves around when I pull the yarn out and the one cat goes nuts chasing and grabbing at it. So I put the wool in a pot that has a big hole in the bottom and a plate underneath. It’s meant for an Amaryllis bulb. Neither cat bothers with the needles when they’re stuck in the pot. They only bother with them when I’m knitting and the needles are moving around. ~ karen!

      • Karen says:

        Karen!!!! First of all I am addicted to your blog.. I spent one whole evening laughing and going through your posts.. my hubby must have wondered what was up..
        I think I am all caught up!
        I have two of those beautiful pottery pots and have wondered for YEARS what they were..
        they are beautiful ..I bought them at Valu Village many moons ago because they were so pretty!
        Thanks for clearing that mystery up!! Now I would like to know how you do really use them… I don’t even know when Amaryllis season is, but would like to put them to use!!
        From Another Karen….. I like to paint stuff!!

        • Karen says:

          Yup. Those are the famous Costco Amaryllis pots. I love mine. Beautiful glaze on them. So, hopefully yours still has the rubber stopper in the bottom. All you do is fill it with dirt and drop an Amaryllis bulb in the top. If the top is too big you can put the bulb in first through the bottom and kind of do it upside down. Not sure if that make sense to you. Basically what I’m saying is all you have to do is fill the thing with dirt, get an Amaryllis bulb in there and water it. The bulb will grow out from the top hole. You might still be able to find some Amaryllis bulbs around on sale. Their season is right before Christmas. They grow quite quickly. ~ karen!

        • Karen says:

          Oh! And thanks! 🙂 ~ karen

  16. blake says:

    I adore that bat and his tiny teeth!
    my daughter asked Santa for…wait for it…real reindeer antlers and a T-Rex tooth. Me being the mom I am I found her both…the reindeer antlers are beautiful and I spent what too much on them…{I actually think they are caribou but I digress}
    The T-Rex tooth is made of some kind of polymer but she thinks it’s real and that’s all that matters…

  17. Preston says:

    I’m very jealous of your bat 🙁

  18. Lynn says:

    …a real pioneer woman would have whittled herself
    a pair of knitting needles ;). Those are LOVELY!
    My fav is a tie between the pot and the bat – I am a caver and prefer bats alive though but yours is cool. The pot is super fabulous – does it cook as good as it looks?

    • Karen says:

      Lynn – I christened it with a pot roast and vegetables a couple of nights ago. Seemed to work just fine. 🙂 The lid is interested actually. The inside of it has tiny little nubs all over so when the pot sweats on the inside, it all drips down from the lid equally and bastes the food. I love my pot. ~ karen!

  19. Diane says:

    Ahhh! I love to see what others get for the Holidays. It really does give you insight into their personalities…that, or you feel bad for them because the people in their lives wouldn’t know a good present if it hit them in the, well… LOL

  20. Jane says:

    Looking at your gifts made me realize the people around me suck.

  21. Lisa says:

    The Little House books are my all-time favorites! I have a sudden urge to make maple candy and homemade butter now.

  22. You made me laugh with pioneers watching window TV. Our cats think our front window a TV. They love watching the Weather Channel, Nature Channel and their favorite show is Desperate Mousewives.

    Your bat is creepy for sure. Didn’t think it was possible outside of a Hollywood prop house for something to top the taxidermied gross beaks form Quebec. My husband got them from my brother a few years back. Now I know who to will them to when the time comes. ha ha. I’ll send you a pic if you like.

  23. What a great post. Still laughing. I hope you share some of the recipes from that cookbook on your blog. I love that concept of eating what is in season, only who knows what is in season anymore. I have about a million recipes at home, but could always use a few more. What?????? Thanks for the early morning laugh. Have a great weekend.

  24. Jen says:

    Hi Karen,
    Great gifts galore!!!

    I loved watching Little House on the Praire but, I never read the books. However there is one little gem of a pioneer book, I have to share with you and it’s based on Mary Draper Ingles’ real life. Follow the River by James Alexander Thom… real triumph-of-the-human spirit stuff.

    Have a good weekend!

  25. Karen says:

    Love the knitting needles!! (and the name!)

  26. Nan Tovar says:

    Loved this post and the comments rocked as well! Happy New Year until 12/21/12!

  27. I love the little house in the prairie I read them to PRE K kids… they love the stories… You are one lucky duck and enjoy!

  28. Maureen says:

    Great books! I read Farmer Boy every fall to hype myself up for canning and freezing. Wilder was one of the best for giving all the details! No thanks on the bat.

  29. Sherri says:

    Your fella needs to give some gifting lessons to my fella. Can you help me hook them up for some tutorials?

    • Karen says:

      Sherri – No tutorials needed. I can tell you all you need to know. The fella keeps a notebook or now his iPhone with him at all times and whenever I ever mention anything I like or want throughout the year, he writes it down. He has lists and lists of things I’d like. Sometimes I mention things in the year, forget all about them and end up with them for Christmas. That’s all the trick there is to it. ~ karen

  30. Tanya W says:

    haha gunpowder in your prada bag

  31. Jen says:

    OK…I just have to ask…does the ‘fella” know you/pay close enough attention , to know what would equate to perfect gifts for you? Or…are you possibly leaving a highlighted list strategically placed all over the house/in his lunch pail, etc? My fella and I only do stockings…I forgot to have “the talk” with him, and ended up opening several(!) bard of Irish Spring….and a large bottle of Tums. I kid you not. There were a few other things…but that’s all I can remember.

    PS. Love your Cock Pot…and the pic with the Little House book is just lovely. Love Little House.

    • Karen says:

      Jen – The fella just pays attention to what I say throughout the year. Then … he writes it down. I don’t say things like … I’d love that bat. You should buy me a bat. This is where to get a bat. The only thing I did that with this year was a subscription to Country Living magazine, LOL. I actually put the subscription form right on his computer. When I wasn’t sure he “got it” I said … I want I subscription to Country Living Magazine. He said, yeah … I got that. ~ karen!

  32. Nancy says:

    They are all awesome Karen but I really like the robe your sister got for you the best..looks so comfy..also I would like the “Rose” pendent myself..I love surrealism..enjoy!!

  33. Barbie says:

    LOVE LOVE that crock pot with the rooster! I WANT THAT! Is it stove top? I don’t believe I have ever seen one like that. Did he get it at Williams & Sonoma or something? Also, the cookbook! I am a cookbook freak! Love the whole idea of buying local and such and I am in a perfect area to make that completely easy peasy for me! Thanks again Karen for the awesome post.

    • Karen says:

      Barbie – Um … heh … um … it isn’t a crock pot. It’s a cock pot. 🙂 It’s just a casserole with a beautiful finish. Use on stove or oven. You can buy the Rooster lid separately and just put it on a casserole you already own. You might wanna do that because the actual pot is kindda costly. I’d never own it if I were to buy it myself! ~ karen

  34. Marie says:

    Great post! I’m starting the fella’s “list” system this year so the recipients of my gifts can be as happy as you. A big local news story has been about a man on Cape Cod who was recently diagnosed with rabies, confirmed to be from a bat living in his house. He didn’t even know he’d been bitten. According to the news stories, those tiny little teeth can bite you while you sleep, give you rabies, and you won’t even know it! They’re just as creepy as house centipedes in my opinion, but I’m glad you’re enjoying yours!

  35. Your bat is totally creepy! It reminds me of my friend, Naomi’s bedazzled tarantula skin. She used to have a tarantula named Ruby. Ruby went through a shedding of the skin phase. Naomi bedazzled said skin and put it in a shadow box. The end.

    Nikki @ the ambitious procrastinator

  36. Susan says:

    I knew my first marriage was doomed when, for our first Christmas, my then-husband gave me a sequined-applique Betty Boop t-shirt. I like Betty Boop, but not a foot tall stiff applique of her on my chest. I think you are well-loved, bat and all.

    • Karen says:

      Susan – Oh dear. That’s like when people I grew up with loved horses and wore tee shirts that said “I love horses”. Just because you love something doesn’t mean you need a tee shirt announcing the fact. Unless it’s a bat. An I love bats tee shirt would be super-cool. ~ karen

  37. Evalyn says:

    Wow. You get presents from people who really understand you*. That, in itself, is a gift.

    *and don’t run screaming from the room.

  38. Charlene says:

    Google Christian Constant & Les Cocottes- he’s a fancy smancy Paris chef and Les C is one of his restaurants that serves everything in Staub cocottes. He has a cookbook you need to get your hands on. To.Die.For.

    • Karen says:

      Charlene – Just googled it, but the book looks like it’ll be difficult to get. 🙁 Not on Amazon, not on Chapters … bleh. boo. ~ karen

  39. PoopsieRenee says:

    You are weird. I love your blog. Happy New Year!

  40. Thera says:

    Happy New year, love the gifts! I wanna bat!!! (in a whiny type voice)
    Relaxing is a good thing, as is knitting, and knitting is part of my “Martha Stew-witch New Years Resolution”, so I now have yarn envy as well as bat envy 😛

  41. Meg says:

    I’m so glad you love your bat. The “his/her tiny little teeth” made me remember my college bio on bats…some species of bats have penis bones. Yeah, baculum.(Plural: bacula.)

    How’s that for a word of the day.

  42. Patty says:

    Hi Karen, I loved hearing about your presents. My boy friend is good at listening for my likes too. I am blessed! I absolutely love the Haitian salad bowl. Found the site and they are beautiful, and a good way to help the people there. Enjoy all of your goodies! You are one lucky girl!

  43. janey says:

    My brother also got a bat in a box for Christmas this year. From his lady. I dont know what to think about you bat people, but Im fascinated.

  44. deziner says:

    All that cool stuff from the fella! – What in the world did you get him? I can hardly wait to see-how can you top a bat in a box and cock pot?

  45. kelliblue says:

    Wow, you made quite the Christmas haul, young lady! I love that you’re weird…I love that your gifts cover the wacky and weird. A BAT? I swear, you have the best fella ever! You’re so lucky that your peeps “get” you. Wish I had that luxury. Family doesn’t. Friends don’t. *sigh* I do a LOT of re-gifting. 🙁

    • Karen says:

      kelliblue – Well that sucks. The mistake most people make when buying presents is … they buy things they’d like themselves. ~ karen

  46. Heather says:

    My dad went on a trip to Thailand and brought my mom back framed bugs. My dad bought them in a little shop that also sold handmade jewelry. The shop owner kept saying, “Something for the wife?” not getting that big, exotic beetles are the best present my mom could’ve hoped for.

  47. Aly says:

    Wow, amazing gifts! Sounds like your family adores you, especially the fella. Very thoughtful.

    I would LOVE to see some of the gifts that you bought for people this year (or maybe next Christmas, since you probably can’t photograph them now that they have left your house?). I bet you have very good taste in gift giving.

    • Karen says:

      Aly – I *love* gift giving. Unless I can’t find the perfect thing and then I *hate* gift giving, LOL. This was a good year for my gifts, if I do say so myself. I gave a lot of handmade stuff from Etsy and hard to find things. Maybe next xmas i’ll do a post on what I gave. 🙂 ~ karen

  48. Violet says:

    You scored some pretty sweet stuff.

    My friends find my Mark Ryden collection disturbing. I have no idea why. My pride and joy is a beautifully-framed print of “Fountain” from the Blood exhibition. What’s not to love about a headless girl with blood spurting from her neck? I was overjoyed when Mark announced the second reprint of the Blood book. Mine arrived just before Christmas. I always give myself the best gifts.

    Bats! Bats, bats, bats! I can’t tell if people think my deep love of bats is more or less creepy than my Mark Ryden fixation. However, I prefer my bats on the hoof … er, wing. One of the best things I ever got for Christmas was a bat detector. (I didn’t have to buy that one for myself.) One of my dreams is to build a bat house with a night-vision camera so I can stream all the batty activity live over the Interwebs. That’s when the party is really gonna start.

    Bat story for you: I once went to a lecture given by a local bat rescuer. She brought a couple of the little guys with her and carried them around for people to see up close. One of them had been injured because he had narcolepsy and fell asleep while flying and crashed. Yes, Virginia, there are narcoleptic bats, apparently. As she was holding him in her hand and talking to people, every now and then he’d lift his head, start to look around, curious and bewildered, and then suddenly *thunk!* faceplant onto the palm of her hand, sound asleep. He was cute as a button and absolutely hilarious.

    Oooh, I’m going to hunt down that pepper mill! I’ve been looking for the perfect one that will grind from extra coarse to superfine for ages and keep ending up with ones that don’t. My current count is six, each grinding to a different coarseness. Really, it shouldn’t be that hard.

  49. dana says:

    My 19-year-old daughter and I read this post together. Her conclusion: “I want a fella who gives me a bat!”
    Your work is done here.
    Happy New Year, Karen, and thank you for tirelessly providing me with wry humor, interspersed with very useful home keeping tips.

  50. Gayla T says:

    I love the cock pot. What a perfect gift from an obviously perfect man. I can’t believe I said that. I can’t believe I think such a beast even exists. Another book you would like is Oh, Pioneers by Willa Cather. It’s a grown up Little House. I never read Anne of Green Gables until I was in my 40’s so until then I would not have known you were a kindred spirit. Do you think that 67 is too old to start a bat business? I only moved into my new old house in April and had 5 volunteers inside by the time they migrated. I love to sit on my front porch in the evening and watch them eat bugs. They won’t eat fireflies but I don’t know why yet. I’m thinking the bat might have been a pricy gift times 5. Hmmmmm….. since I’m saving for a cruise? Actually, some of them are on the endangered species list but the ones around here are surely not. My favorite gift was a vintage set of play dishes in the same pattern as my Pfaltsgraff. It’s from the best daughter in the world who understans her mom more than anyone in my life ever did. Of course I’m keeping her and you should keep that fella if you have to tie him up in the chicken house. My BD is the 25th so I better start hinting about a cock pot. Love ya, honey. You are as goofy as I am. It’s a lot easier to be eccentric when you get old so hang in there. LOL

    • Karen says:

      Gayla T – I’ve often said I can’t wait to get older. But I must admit, I’ve always been eccentric without being particularly weird and people have accepted me just fine. 🙂 ~ karen

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