I’ve been really excited about my New Year’s Resolution to explore new culinary challenges. But Gourmet’s January issue is not helping my cause; it’s the Italian-American issue. And I want to cook everything in it, from the lasagne to the ricotta cheesecake. It even has a recipe for making your own mozzarella. It’s just a matter of time before I slip on this resolution.

My mentor Dee sent me a link to this video from the documentary Playing for Change: Peace Through Music, and it made my week. A group of musicians from around the world (who have never met) perform versions of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” The documentary filmed the effort to record and slice together several songs like this, and the video Playing For Change: Song Around the World “Stand By Me” is incredibly cool.

I love how simple, trad-but-modern, and fun these quilts from Napoleon Quilts are. And their homepage has an hysterical list of benefits for giving kids one of these handmade baby quilts.

pleasuredomecolor_glacierI’m becoming obsessed with wallpaper these days, and I still have not given up on my idea of an outrageous print covering our tiny downstairs half bathroom (like this Pleasure Dome print). Walnut Wallpaper has the coolest designs I’ve seen, they are challenging my fear of wallpaper as a staid, instantly dated thing.

The Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz awards are set to be announced at ALA’s Midwinter conference on January 26th. The Association of Library Service to Children has a great discussion list of contenders for 2009. I’m trying to wade through it, but there are already brand new books popping up on my To Read list for this year (and books still to read from 2007….).

I really want a new sewing machine for my 30th birthday. My little Kenmore is a champ, but I want something big. Glorious. Powerful. A Bernina. Maybe a Bernina Artista series. I just need to sell a kidney first….