Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend Highs & Lows

Another blogger recently stated she plays high-low with her children, asking them to tell her a high of the day and a low. What a great idea!

So, I thought I'd share my weekend highs and my weekend lows with you.


I'm going to be an aunt (alright, a great-aunt) again! We should have a new little one in the family in early August.

Won at the casino today! I'm now seventeen cents richer!!! (Hey, a win is a win.)

Had a nice chat with my aunt tonight and made a lunch date with her for later this week.


I'm finding this freezing weather really depressing.

I learned of a family member's serious medical problems and upcoming surgery.

Hope your Highs outnumbered your Lows !

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Baby it's cold outside !!

We hit a balmy 22 this morning - and then it started to snow - and then, the temps dropped, too.
Seriously, we were only supposed to get a dusting, if that. The Big Guy and our neighbor are out there now with the snow blower and shovels. It's still snowing but we're up to about 5 inches so far.

We had bigger plans but after we'd gone out to breakfast, The Big Guy said he just didn't trust the forecast so we scratched the original plans and headed back home. A few flurries started as we approached our neighborhood. They didn't let up all day.

So, we stayed in and watched T.V. and did sodoku puzzles. After a few old movies, we switched over to a food series. (I think it was on the Travel Network.) We saw some unusual stuff there. Some I'd like to try. Some made me cringe! The one that really held our attention was all about things FRIED !!

I've got to admit I HAVE tried a fried oreo. They are good ! They are also really, really rich! (We split one five ways two years ago. That one bite was enough!) I have never had a fried twinkie, though they do seem to get the most coverage.

We did have an opportunity to try fried mac'n'cheese a year or so ago. Good, but definitely overkill. I've seen fried mashed potato balls (with fancy toppings, like nachos) but didn't try them. Yes, I've even seen Paula Deen fry butter !

So, what new and different things did they fry on this show? The two that stuck with me were chicken fried bacon and battered and fried pizza ! I'm wondering just what kind of party evening led someone to batter a slice of pepperoni pizza and then dunk it in a deep fat fryer. Apparently, it's a big seller for the restaurant that sells them. (I can't believe there'd be more than one place doing this!)

As for the chicken fried bacon, can you say "heart attack on a plate"!?!?!

They start out with 6 strips of bacon in a stack, use fried chicken batter on it and then deep fry it. Of course, the plate isn't complete until they pour the thick and creamy, Southern-style country gravy over it!!!! (After all, that is the thing that makes chicken fried steak what it is!)

After an afternoon of such interesting food, I felt the need to make something decadent for dinner. No, I didn't find anything in the kitchen to batter and fry! I did whip up some Philly cheesesteak subs. (In some parts of the country, you'd call them "hoagies". ) The steak was grilled on a flat-top griddle but I did pan fry the onions. (Okay, I'll be honest, the bread and meat were just a vessel for the melted cheese and onions!)
It was good but I guess it was no chicken fried bacon !

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Meet a few more of my friends ...

I'm not in a very bloggy mood tonight.

It's cold here. We'll slip down to 15 degrees within the next few hours and a stiff wind will keep it feeling colder yet. (This is cold for our area! I know a lot of you would love to have a heat wave that high.) I just want to snuggle up in my blankey and hibernate a bit.

Like I said, I'm just not feeling bloggy at the moment so I'll just share a little about a few more of my followers. Maybe you can take the time to stop in and see what they have to say tonight.

While Living in Fairyland, iluvlucy8 is Mom to eight, plus one grandchild. Time is tight but she still stops in to post on a regular basis. Recently, she blogged about meeting one of my heroes, Paula Deen. (I'm soooo jealous!)

Paula at Purse Stuff uses her blog to share craft show news and reviews. She'll be doing a series of RV Resort shows in the Southwest (Tucson, Mesa, Sun City, and more) over the next few months. If you see her out there, say "Hi!."

Holly at Holly Rocks has been one of my most faithful commenters. Although, lately, she's slacked off a bit! I'll excuse her though. She's been busy with getting married (Congrats, Holly!), starting her first teaching job AND moving into a new house! By the way, she recently posted some really romantic pics from her lovely winter wedding.

Tommye is another of my frequent commenters. She wraps tidbits of her life in between pieces of her intricate and precise stitchery. The detailed counted cross stitch creations shown in all her posts on I'd rather be stitching... will make you say "Wow!."

I'm still making my way through the mob and trying to stop in and visit with each of my followers. If I haven't been to your blog yet, hang in there. I'm coming. I've already been to at least half of you this month!

So, leave the light on, please.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Working the Shows Wednesday - What shows are you planning to do this year?

Hard to picture that Spring craft show sitting on that field in just a few weeks isn't it? Spring IS coming!! Or, so they say! I'm choosing to believe it. Go ahead, use your imagination!!

I’ve been reading a number of posts, both in blogs and on various craft forums, where the poster has commented that they intend to participate in more craft shows during the coming year. Since “show season” seems a good ways off, most have indicated they “want” to do this, or they “plan to look into” or they’ll be doing shows later in the year.

Well, if they haven’t begun to set up that calendar yet or look into just what shows they plan to do, many will have missed the application deadlines for a lot of the better shows.

Easter is 9 weeks away. Mother’s Day is 14 weeks away. Around these parts, the Mid-Atlantic, and for many other areas of the country, indoor shows try to capitalize on the Easter rush and the outdoor shows and festivals kick into gear for Mother’s Day buying. Many of the Spring and summer shows I am looking at have February deadlines.

In fact, a lot of the better Fall and Christmas holiday shows have deadlines as early as March and April. Now is the time to determine what shows you intend to do throughout the entire year and check into the application process for each of those shows.

I have actually spoken with new crafters who have busily spent months building up stock for the great show they want to do in October (pre-Christmas) only to realize they have not checked into the application process for that show and just assumed they’d sign up in time. When they get around to looking into actually doing the paperwork and paying their fees, they find they’ve missed it by months.

So, if you are one of those PLANNING to do some shows later in the year, now is the time to put together that list, contact the organizers and get the paperwork in.

NOW is also the time to take some great pictures for jurying processes and giving solid thought to booth displays. For more information on both of those subjects, check out some of my previous posts in both the Working the Shows Wednesdays and my Marketing Series archives. (Find these in the side-bar.)


[I’m not ready to bring this back as a weekly feature yet as we are still in the slow season in the world of arts and crafts shows. However, there are some things happening “back stage” so to speak that I do want to call to folks’ attention. So, for now, this feature will appear on an occasional basis until the show season gets into full swing once again.]

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Continuing my blog challenge...

Back in the Fall, I issued a challenge to my fellow bloggers. Actually,I did it in response to a triple dog dare issued to me. The challenge was for each blogger to make a point of touching base with each of their followers - check out their blogs and/or online shops, make comments and, simply get to know them.

It seems we all follow certain blogs and we're very happy to have followers but those aren't always the same folks. Many of us sort of lose track of some of our followers or never really take time to find out who they are which is ultimately the purpose behind this challenge. In the process, you just may find some really interesting blogs to read and folks to get to know.

I've been chipping away at this challenge for several months now. (It probably was not wise to start this amid the holiday rush season.) I've stopped in and visited with quite a few of you but the journey continues.

Today, I've added a new twist to how I'm completing the challenge. From time to time, I plan to introduce you to some of my followers and let you consider checking them out yourselves. So, here, in no particular order, are some of my followers:

Rose over at Jessica's Ramblings is into reading at the moment. Right now, she's working on Dan Brown's latest, The Lost Symbol. She recently posted The Reader's Bill of Rights, which, among other things, gives readers the right to skip pages, not finish and reread.

Anj over On Ruby's Hill wanders the beaches of Alaska gathering bits of stone and sea glass to create beautiful and unique jewelry. She also, regularly, calls our attention to the magnificence of nature, often sharing some fantastic pictures of that awesome part of our country.

Between catching episodes of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," Bundles of Blossoms manages to blog and Twitter almost daily and has also just hooked up on Facebook. She's just moved back from Florida to Illinois and is in the process of renovating a new [old] house that has been in their family for over a century. You can read all the details of that huge undertaking in her 1/14/10 post.

Campbell Jane maintains two blogs but I only follow one of them. On Folkart by Campbell Jane, self-described as "a whimsical world of works and whatever," she shares humorous insights into her world and lots of pictures of her bright colorful artwork.

Natalie at Tins and Treasures is one of my oldest followers. She's been there since near the beginning. Natalie's a stronger woman than myself as she has survived this brutal winter in South Dakota and still keeps smiling and entertaining us with her cheerful look at life. She's spent several decades teaching what is now referred to as Family and Consumer Science (We used to take "Home Ec") and often shares some terrific recipes with us, her readers. I plan to make her Pineapple Banana Bread (shared in Sunday's post) this week. Empty nesters when their youngest went off to college, they are "parenting" a foreign exchange "daughter" from the Netherlands this year.

Ilena at Have You Seen My Dragon is a mom of two, blogger and quilter. Her musings will keep you amused!

Then, there's Audrey of Audrey's Country Crafts. Another of my earliest followers, she has it going on!! A fantastic crafter in her own right, Audrey shares her life, creations and finds (she spotlights many tremendous crafters and their shops) in her daily blog posts. Audrey also has a second blog that highlights blog give-aways and the pertinent info for each of them. You've just got to check Audrey out for yourself !!

Theresa shares her life and fantasy-inspired whimsical creations with us on her blog Flight Fancy. She's also currently taking part in the One World One Heart blog carnival.

Want to see some really adorable baby pictures? Kristi highlights her products (baby bows and hats) by spotlighting various professional photographer's shots of their models wearing Krisiti's work. The results, shown on her blog, Mommy to the Princesses, are spectacular!!

Married to a musician, temporarily hanging out in the food service world and releasing her tensions through the craft world, Angela keeps us entertained with her tales from the trenches of customer service in her brother's restaurant to showing just how many tree ornaments one gal can paint in a week on her blog Pickles on Pizza. Now, she's taking on the world of sewing, too!!

So, my trek to visit all of you continues.

If I haven't stopped in yet, just leave the light on. I'll be there, eventually.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Huff - Puff -Stretch - Pull - OUCH!!

Well, here we are, just about all the way through January. So how are you doing on your goals (or resolutions) about exercising or getting more physically active in general? Me? Not so hot.

I decided to take a beginner's exercise class at the local rec center. I bent twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. I even might have sprained something.

By the time I got my leotards on, the class was over !!

I had just prepared that post, when my sweet s-i-l sent this e-mail my way:

T'was the month after Christmas, and all through the house,
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I'd nibbled, the chocolate I'd taste
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber),

I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt...
I said to myself, as I only can,
"You can't spend a winter, disguised as a man!"

So, away with the last of the sour cream dip.
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie, not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, orcorn bread, or pie.
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore...
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all, and to all a good diet.

Ain't it the truth?!?!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So, how was your weekend?

Another busy weekend coming to an end !!! How come they seem, so short? We didn't do anything spectacular but it was a good one.

We had a great "just us" day on Saturday doing something we enjoy together. Starting with breakfast out by 9 a.m., we didn't roll back in the door until about 9 p.m. !

After a good night's sleep, we took advantage of the warmer weather and made the trek to a friend's house for a last-minute afternoon-dinner plan. They live in a somewhat remote rural area that we avoid in frozen times. Today was damp and foggy but in the 50s. We spent a few hours enjoying some great burgers, lots of chatter and the guys watched the football game together. By 5, we were heading home. The Big Guy has a weekly pinochle game here on Sunday evenings so it wasn't long till that gang arrived. Before we knew it, his bedtime had rolled around and here I sit, me and my keyboard (together and alone again) !

I've been worrying this evening.

Maybe I watch too much Medium and Ghost Whisperer and such lately. While using the powder room at my friend's house today, I glanced up at a pretty little hand-stitched sampler on the wall that I've seen there many times before. The very familiar verse says: "Angels sent from heaven above, please protect all those we love."

Of course, when one lets their mind wander without adult supervision, one must expect surprises. My roaming mind read it like this: "Angels sent from heaven above, please contact all those we love." Yep, that one jerked me back to attention!

One of those do-do, do-do moments for sure!

All I can hope is those of you contacted by my angels will welcome their efforts and be comforted by the gesture. We can all use an extra angel or two.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Witty Words of Wisdom from Women

The Big Guy and I joined two other couples for dinner last night at the new home of our close friends. In the normal style of these get-togethers, the women gravitated toward the kitchen where we stood around the table chatting while our guys grabbed beers and settled in to talk in the adjoining family room.

On the way home, we discussed some of the information exchanged at the get-together. I definitely believe the women discussed more substantial and useful subjects. Long referred to as "the fairer sex," perhaps we should use the term "wiser sex."

For a few examples of female wisdom, read on ...

Estate Planning:
Joe was a single guy, living at home with his father and working in the family business. When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sick father died, he decided he needed a wife with whom to share his fortune.

One evening at an investment seminar he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her beauty took his breath away. "I may look like just an ordinary man," he said to her, "but in just a few years, my father will pass and I'll inherit his large fortune."

Impressed, the woman took his business card. Three months later, she became Joe's stepmother.

Women are so much better at estate planning than men !!

Breakfast Special:

A friend and her mom went out for breakfast at a local eatery where the special was "two eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast for $2.99." Her mom told the waitress, "That sounds good but I don't want the eggs."

"Then, I'll have to charge you $4.75 because you're ordering a la carte," the waitress warned.

"So," Mom exclaimed, "I have to pay for NOT taking the eggs?" After a second's thought, Mom said "I'll take the special."

"How do you want your eggs?"

"Raw and in the shell," her mother replied.

She took the eggs home and used them in a batch of brownies later that day!


Things Only Women Understand:
* Cats' facial expressions.
* Why bean sprouts aren't just weeds.
* The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white and eggshell.
* Cutting your bangs to make them grow.
* The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.
* Discovering a designer dress on the clearance rack can be considered a peak life experience.
* A good man might be hard to find, but a good hairdresser is next to impossible.

I'm sure y'all can think of even more examples of women's wisdom!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A little shameless self-promotion for Valentine's Day!

Roses, flowers, chocolate, a little romance -- what do you want for Valentine's Day?

Maybe now's the time to place a few good solid hints. (Of course, if your man is like mine, a hint won't cut it. You'll have to be more obvious than that!!)

I consider myself lucky if he manages to bring me a bag of candy hearts that say what he'd never think to say out loud. A card would be a total shocker!!


Speaking of CANDY HEARTS....
O.K., that was just a way of easing you into a little shameless self-promotion for my online shop, Splashin. I've got some really cute lovies for the little ones.

I played with the candy heart concept for some onesie for the very young. These were fun to create.Since they seemed a little saccharine-sweet for the bigger kids, I worked some cuddly animals into the hearts and flowers theme.

Now, I'll admit these seem pretty good for the girls but they don't say "I love my little boy!" Hearts, flowers and lace just don't translate well into B-O-Y !!

I do have things boys love - like hamsters, trucks, cars and tools. So if you're in the market for a little outfit to tell the little ones in your life how much they're loved stop on in and take a look around.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hey! Did'ja know? -- January is National Jigsaw Puzzle Month!!

According to Better Homes and Gardens, January is National Jigsaw Puzzle Month.
This came as great news to my friend, B, and I this week. We just completed a puzzle we began FOUR years ago !!! Actually, it was 4 1/2 years, but what's 6 months when it comes to a 1000 piece puzzle?

Seriously, we started Santa Claws during our annual beach week 4 1/2 years ago. We thought it'd make a great group project. (We share a beach house with 6 couples each year.) Turns out, B and I were more into it than anyone else. Oh, everybody helped a little that first time around. By the end of that week, we had the entire outline done and a little bit of the bottom innards. B carefully packed it up and kept it in one of those roll-up puzzle keepers. Turns out we forgot to take it the next year. (Never occurred to us to get together over the winter to work on it. We only lived 25 minutes apart! After all, it was a beach thing!)
The third year, both of our households had some medical problems and we canceled beach week. Then, this year, B remembered to bring the puzzle. On our second night at the beach, we set up a little table on the side, unrolled the puzzle, poured some wine and prepared to get down to work. That was when it dawned on us -- the box with the puzzle pieces in it was home on the bookshelf in South Carolina. (B moved two years ago.) We were in Nags Head, North Carolina. So much for finishing that puzzle at the beach!!

This weekend, we visited B and her husband. We got right down to working on that puzzle on Friday night. (Okay, first thing we did was open the wine. It WAS a long drive so we did need to unwind a bit first!) We really worked at it all weekend. The Big Guy and B's hubby both jumped in and helped a bit. B's daughter stopped by and added a few pieces and, lo and behold, B and I were able to place the last two pieces by Sunday afternoon!!!


B says she's going to preserve the finished puzzle. I fully expect to find it adorning the guest room wall next time I visit!


Some Puzzle Facts:

Just for the record, jigsaw puzzles were invented all the way back in the 1700s in England by a map maker. They were originally maps mounted on thin layers of wood. Those were difficult to cut smoothly and were somewhat cumbersome to work with. Eventually, cardboard became the mounting of choice and more interesting artwork was used.

Puzzles came into their prime in America during The Great Depression in the 1930s. Folks found them to be cheap family activities that could be enjoyed at home by the entire family. Libraries were even known to rent jigsaw puzzles in that era.

Working on puzzles develops one's logical and analytical thinking. It encourages concentration and gives a great sense of fulfillment upon completion. Eye/hand coordination improves for those who do a lot of puzzles.

So, other than the great amounts of wine we consumed while working on the puzzle, we were pursuing a pastime that was good for us!!


B and I can't wait to start a new puzzle this year. (Seriously.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm baaack!!!

Remember that New Year's goal to post daily? Well, I blew it -- again.

I had a good excuse. We were away for 5 days - just lounging around with good friends, eating well, chatting and just enjoying the company. It was wonderful!!!

Seriously, I did think about all of you, my readers. I even prepared some posts that were supposed to run while I was gone. Unfortunately, I ran into some internet access problems Thursday night when I tried to pre-post so only Saturday's post ran. So, sorry.

(Did you ever notice most of our road trips seem to involve snow along the highway? What's up with that?)

We visited some very close friends who, unfortunately for us, moved to South Carolina two years ago. They were our running buddies and are sorely missed. It's a 10-11 hour drive these days so our visits are few and far between. When we get together we savor every moment. This weekend was no exception.

Both halves of this couple are excellent cooks. We ate really, really well! There was jambalaya, biscuits with sausage gravy, lentil soup, cheese tortellini, cheese fondue with all the fixin's, chicken fried steak, cake and more!!!
We didn't do many activities away from the house - we were too busy eating !! There was lots of time to lounge around, relax, play with the pets (a cat for every lap!) and just be together.

I had a great weekend. I hope y'all did, too!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

GO RAVENS !!!! Game Day Menu!!

Baltimore born and bred, I remember the Colts literally sneaking out of town in the middle of the night. It was devastating to this sports town. This town has not forgiven them yet. So believe me, even though we will be away from home, we will be flaunting our purple pride and tuned in for the match between the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore’s indomitable Raven’s!

Whether your team is playing on Saturday or Sunday, chances are, you’re planning to watch one of the football playoff games this weekend. So you will definitely need food to maintain your sustenance for all that screaming, yelling and jumping around. Thought I’d share a recipe or two that we plan to make.

Along with the usual menu of wings, chips and beer (Baltimore IS a beer town!!!), we may just make up a batch of these jalapeno gems!


Prepare 6-8 jalapeno peppers by removing the stem end, and, using a pointed paring knife, remove the seeds and veins from the pepper. (The pepper’s heat is contained in the seeds and veins. We like the heat, so I usually only remove about half of the seeds from ours.)

Cream together:
1 ½ oz. cream cheese
1 - 1 ½ oz. shredded cheese of your choice
(mozzarella, cheddar, taco mix, etc.)
1 oz. mild or hot salsa (How hot do you want these?)

Beat 2 eggs in a small, deep bowl.
Blend ½ cup flour with ¾ cup seasoned bread crumbs in a cereal bowl.
Use canola oil to prepare a deep fryer to the fill depth or a frying pan to about a 2” depth.
Using a spoon, fill each pepper with the cheese mixture.
Dip each stuffed pepper in the egg bowl and then roll in the crumb mixture, coating completely.
Dip a second time in the egg and again in the crumbs.
Carefully place the peppers, a few at a time in the oil.
Fry till golden brown.
Serve warm.

We might even serve some ribs!!!


(Since we don’t own a real charcoal smoker, I developed this recipe to make my ribs in the oven. They can almost convince you they were smoked on the grill. These are “dry ribs” which means they are cooked without sauce, just a seasoned rub.)

2 racks of baby back ribs
½ cup dry rub to coat both sides of each rack
8-10 oz. apple cider or apple juice to spritz ribs while they cook

Remove the transparent membrane from the back of the racks of ribs before cooking. Generously apply rub to both sides of the ribs.
Place the ribs on a raised rack in a roaster pan.
Bake at 225° for 2 ½ hours, turning the ribs after one hour.
Spritz ribs with apple cider at that time and raise the oven temperature to 350° and continue cooking for 2 more hours, spritzing ribs about every half hour and turning after one hour. Finish the ribs off with 10-15 minutes under the broiler to brown them up.
** If you don’t have a small spray bottle to spritz, you can spoon the juice over the ribs just as you might baste a turkey.

This process should produce flavorful F.O.B. (fall off the bone) ribs!! If you must, add the bbq sauce of your choice.

GO RAVENS !!!!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bits 'n' Pieces

Cougars & Cubs ...

Wow! Sometimes I just feel so “out of it!” I’m familiar with the term “cougar” - you know, the older woman going after younger guys. In fact, I’ve known a few of these gals along the way. I guess my true feeling about that is “More power to them!”

I learned a new word to go with that one tonight, though. I never realized the young guys these women preyed upon were referred to as “cubs.” Cute. But then, talk about a weird image surfacing in my mind! When I hear this, I kind of imagine a grown man wearing a Cub Scout uniform with an attractive woman looking like she borrowed clothing from Mama (as in Mama’s House). I guess I’ve watched way too much Saturday Night Live!!

Anyways, I learned this term when I saw an article about Carnival Cruise Lines turning away travel agencies wanting to book Cougar & Cubs themed cruises. Apparently, there was one aboard a Carnival ship last year and there were no problems or obviously questionable activities taking place but Carnival feels such a theme deters from their “family image.”

Well, I’ve been on ten Carnival cruises over the years and I’ve got to say, I’d be less concerned about the Cougars and their Cubs (Unless, of course, they are dressed as naughty Cub Scouts!) than the elderly and/or paunchy men parading around the deck in nothing but a skimpy Speedo with all their family jewels clearly visible! Believe me, there are a LOT of those guys on most of the cruises!


Most of us have heard about Joan Rivers’ being pulled from her flight home from Costa Rico last week due to “security concerns.” (Sure, Joan Rivers can be scary, but a National Security risk?!?) Apparently this was triggered by her possession of an “AKA Passport.” These are passports held by folks who have legally changed their names from their birth names or who use a professional name different from their legal name. They are not highly unusual and should not pose a problem for most travelers. (Whoopi Goldberg, aka Karen Johnson, also has such a passport.)

Joan has now been making the talk show rounds doing her best to taint the reputation of that particular airline and to shine yet another light on the flaws in airline security. She’s questioning how they determine who to detain when that name is NOT on the No Fly List . Just who is making decisions to hold back elderly women in wheel chairs, nursing mothers, etc.

She stressed that they deterred her, a 76-year-old woman, giving away her seat on the flight before even beginning to attempt to clarify the situation and then giving her $60 to find a hotel and other necessities to sustain her until the next available flight. Like so many celebrities, she was flying without much pocket cash.

She did use a great line about the experience. She asked how many terrorists call ahead to identify themselves and request a kosher meal !


Remember when women worried about their significant others stopping off at a bar or “Gentlemen’s Club” on their way home? Maybe we should all start worrying about them stopping to get an espresso on their way to work instead! Be especially worried if the stand has a name like Dream Girls Espresso. In Yakima, Washington, a huge controversy has been brewing [pun intended] over so-called sexpresso stands and latte joints where the baristas wear lingerie and bikinis as “uniforms.”

City officials attempted to have such businesses classified as adult entertainment but settled for changing the indecent exposure laws, holding owners and managers responsible for the attire worn by employees. Male customers have been “ticketed” for pleasuring themselves on and near the premises.

Last week, city prosecutors charged a barista and her boss with indecent exposure when the barista was working the stand wearing a g-string which revealed her bare buttocks. A neighboring city dealing with the same kind of issues, has also been charging the baristas with prostitution.

Ladies, please don’t allow your man to “Stop off for coffee!” Keep your Mister Coffee perking and your man at home!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And this effects MY life HOW?

“So, how does this effect MY life?”
Oh, how I wish I had a dollar (the heck with nickels!) for every time I hear that in my house! It seems to be one of The Big Guy’s favorite answers when I enthusiastically tell him some news of the day I thought was interesting.

On the few occasions when I justify the news with some comment as to how I think it DOES effect his life, I usually get the very dismissive response of, “If you say so.” End of conversation.

This is not to say I haven’t THOUGHT these same responses when he has deemed me worthy of some daily news that impressed HIM. For the sake of domestic harmony, I don’t think I’ve ever actually voiced either thought, though.

So, there I was just sitting there enjoying my mid-morning break on Monday when The View came on TV. They opened their “Hot Topic” segment with the HUGE news that no one could find Tiger Woods anywhere over the weekend!!! How could that be?!?

Okay, so here’s the shocker. My mind immediately came up with, “So, how does that effect MY life?” I mean, I’m not a tall, willowy, gorgeous blonde . I don’t have any financial interest in Tiger and I’m not a friend of Elan’s who is concerned about her life to any great extent. I have had weekends where I preferred to escape from everyone and just go off and be alone and I don’t have paparazzi and such chasing me for any reason. Why can’t Tiger have some time to himself?

After all, will finding Tiger’s whereabouts and reading such tidbits as “he spent a half hour in the hot tub and then had a quiet dinner with a friend,” effect my life in the long run? Assuming someone does find and report on his whereabouts.

“Hot Topics” for me would be more along the lines of “false eyelashes make a comeback,” “reading Janet Evanovich novels helps you lose weight without even trying,” or “housework proves harmful to your health and all women should stop doing any such chores immediately.” Now, those are things that would effect my life!!!

By the way, Barbara Walters made a thought provoking observation, “There seems to be only two people in the world that we can’t find - Osama Bin Laden and Tiger Woods.” Think about that one for a while.

Can't wait to check out today's Hot Topics!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Toss that fruitcake!!! Win a trophy.

The holiday’s over - it’s time to toss the fruitcake. Okay, so it’s actually past the time to do it. The 15th annual Great Fruitcake Toss took place Saturday in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Dang!! We missed it!

Oh yeah, we didn’t receive a fruitcake this year. We’d have had to toss some Ugly Cake! (Those of you who read this blog regularly will get that joke.) No. Wait. They had “rentals” for $1. You could rent a cake to toss!Much like it’s older cousin, the Annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ in Delaware, the Great Fruitcake Toss has become a much anticipated event. Folks plan ahead and scheme to develop the best apparatus to toss the heavy dessert, or they spend months in training working those biceps for the hand tossing division.

There are a number of categories for which shiny trophies are awarded and your name appears in the paper - The Colorado Springs Gazette. You could be famous for simply “tossing your cake.” In addition to the hand tossing and the throwing by mechanical or pneumatic means, there are age categories, accuracy, distance and catching awards, too. There are two weight divisions : heavyweights at 4 lbs. and featherweights at 2 lbs.

Not much of a pitcher? You could enter your fruitcake in the Glamour Competition where prizes are given for the Most Beautiful, Ugliest and Most Creative. I hear tell there’s even a Fruitcake Derby where you can attach wheels and race your cake against others. Local hotels and inns offer specials for the event, including a fruitcake and even some coaching sessions to give you some tossin’ tips and tricks.
By the way, the all-time Great Fruitcake Toss record is 1,420’, set in 2007 by a group of Boeing engineers (Yeah, I’m sure they were a bit geeky.) who created the “Omega 380”, a mock artillery piece fueled by compressed air pumped by an exercise bike! Gives new meaning to the phrase “nutty as a fruitcake”, doesn’t it?

And, you wonder what too much snow can do to a brain?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

One Ugly Cake !!!

Well, I almost kept my goals for the week! I missed two posts here and I didn’t list anything new in the shop yesterday. I did, however, produce a decent party last night so I guess it was a trade off. I was kept petty busy the last few days getting the party together.

We used to throw huge events for 30 people or so but, in our maturity, have decided to keep crowds more manageable at a dozen or less. We expected 12 folks yesterday but there were only 9 of us when all was said and done. It was an easy crowd - all family or friends that are even closer than family. No need to impress, just needed to serve up some good grub. I think we accomplished this and a good time was had by all.

The biggest challenge with this crowd is serving up variety. When you have the same guests over and over, you really want to think up something new and different in the way of food. “NEW RECIPE” and “GUESTS” don’t always go well together! This party’s experiment was officially called a “Snickerdoodle Cake.” It’s new name - “Ugly Cake.”
The Big Guy’s favorite cookie is a snickerdoodle. Since I didn’t get any cookies made this holiday, I decided to give him this flavor in a new recipe I’d found for Snickerdoodle Cake. Sounded like a great plan. It was a simple recipe, wouldn’t take long. Great idea for the party.

I whipped it up according to directions and then came to an ambiguous step in the recipe. Between combining the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients and pouring it into the pan, the instructions said to “sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the cake.” Okay, if it isn’t in the pan yet, wouldn’t you say sprinkle it over the “batter”? If you’re calling it “the cake,” wouldn’t that infer sprinkling AFTER it was in the pan?

Assuming it was, ultimately, a basic cinnamon cake, I went with the pouring it into the pan first. (I have made cinnamon cakes before!) I then sprinkled the cinnamon sugar, according to their measurements, over the entire cake. It seemed to be a pretty heavy coating.

About midway through the baking process, I watched through the oven window. It looked a little strange. The batter was rising around the cinnamon sugar coating but not really absorbing any of it. (Most of my cinnamon cakes have kind of allowed the topping to sink in a little and “look” baked in.) When all was said and done, it was one ugly cake. The cinnamon sugar just sat there on top of the finished cake, like a heavy layer of dirt.
I was a little disappointed and definitely did not want to serve this “ugly” cake to my guests. Obviously, I didn’t do it right! I mixed a new batch but, before finishing it off, decided to go on line and see if there was another version of the same cake that might clarify that step or at least show a picture. There were other versions but they indicated doing exactly what I did. I didn’t find any pictures. (Obviously, no one else liked its “looks” either!) So, I did it again! This time I went a little lighter on the cinnamon sugar than the original recipe called for.

Once the second cake was in the oven, I played with the first one. Using a pastry brush, I cleaned off a fair amount of the cinnamon sugar. I figured it shouldn’t taste bad, it just wasn’t attractive. I didn’t want to waste it. We would live with it as a family.

Turns out, the second cake looked just about the same! This is simply an unattractive cake. The Big Guy and I tasted the first one. It tasted fine. It was actually fairly good.

When dinner was over and it was time to serve the desserts. I got out the brownies one of the guests brought, the pumpkin pie I’d made the night before and warned them all I was also serving “one ugly cake!” I think everybody had a brownie or two, a few tried the pie and ALL wanted some “Ugly Cake.” All pronounced it tasty, but “Ugly.”

As one guest put it, “When you think about it, snickerdoodles aren’t one of the most attractive cookies either but everybody likes them!.”

The moral of this story: Don’t judge a book by it’s cover - or a cake by it’s appearance. Oh yeah, there’s a second moral here, too: Don’t go with a new, untried, unseen recipe for guests. (Stick with what you know!)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Goal status and a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie

One week down and only 51 to go in the new year. So, what have I accomplished so far? To be honest, not a heck of a lot! I've been feeling lazy most of the week. I guess I'm winding down from the hectic weeks just past and the weather hasn't helped.

It's been cold. When it's cold, I just want to hunker down, pull up a blanket and hibernate. Can you guess I'm not a winter gal? Our temps have run about 20 degrees colder than normal for this time of year. While we did have one deep snow (19") the other few have only been dustings. It should be snowing within the hour but we're only expecting a few inches from this storm. I know in the big picture of weather around the country, we're not doing bad, just shivering a bit. In my world, it's miserable and can't turn to Spring soon enough for me!

So, I've basically stayed inside most of the week. I have stuck to my goal of listing one item a day in my shop. When I add a listing, I also make at least a dozen entries in the Promotion section of the Etsy Forums and I also Twitter right away about the new item. This generally gets me off to a start with about 20-25 views within minutes. I'm not sure if it means much to my sales but it makes me feel better.

I've made no sales this week at all. Nothing online or otherwise. I have to admit, I really didn't expect any this week but it would have been nice.

We're having a little gang in for a get together on Saturday so I've had to give some thought to what I'll be serving. I finally came up with a menu and did some grocery shopping today. It was a heavy duty shopping spree (involving 4 stores) as I not only needed things for Saturday but the cupboards and fridge were getting a little bare in general. I also needed cleaning supplies. Seemed like everything ran out about the same time in the last week or two.

I've cooked at home everyday this year so far! (That's a little unusual for us.) I started working on preparing a chicken pot pie as soon as I got in from shopping but things were going slowly and time was getting a little tight. The Big Guy had an errand to run so we went ahead and went out to dinner, too. Guess we'll have pot pie tomorrow!
It's been a while since I've shared a recipe, so I'll share the basic pot pie recipe I follow.


2 packages refrigerated rolled pie crusts (total of 4 crusts)
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. thyme
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup light cream
4 cups cubed chicken
2 (1 lb.) bags of frozen mixed peas, corn & carrots
1 can small whole onions

*In a glass lasagne pan, take two crusts and cover the bottom and sides of the pan, cut extra crust from the overlap of pan and fill in all open spots.
*Melt butter in large pan over low heat, blend in flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly, remove from heat.
*Stir in broth and cream. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, boil and stir 1 minute.
*Stir in chicken and vegetables. Pour into pastry-lined pan, spread evenly over pan.
*Take last two pie crusts and place over pan. Cut pie crusts with about ½ inch overhang. Use extra pieces of crust to fill in the open spots, pinch the edges to seal the pie.
*Melt 2 Tbsp. butter and brush edges and center of pie. Cut 2 two-inch slits in center of pie to let out steam.
*Place pie on shallow cookie sheet, and bake at 425° for 1 and ¼ hours. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Okay, I start with this and expand a little. This is actually my nephew's recipe which I alter a bit. I don't use the cream but make my "gravy" more like a roux for gumbo. We prefer to add chunks of potato (which I pre-cook in the microwave) to our pot pie. I also spice the roux up a little with some spices.

This will be a good stick-to-your-ribs meal after the snowy morning that's forecast for tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Grandma's Apron

Like most of you, I get tons of humorous e-mails each day. I use very few for blogpost fodder but I just love this one and really feel compelled to share it with all of you. By the way, should you be inspired to buy an apron when all is said and done, I do have a few in my etsy shop. (Just sayin"...) I have also used it as a means of introducing y'all to another great blogger and her shop.

The History of Aprons

I don't think our kids know
what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to
protect the dress underneath,
because she only had a few.

It was easier to wash aprons than dresses
and they used less material,
but along with that,
it served as a potholder for removing
hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears,
and on occasion, was even used for
cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs,
fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs
to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons
were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold,
Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow,
bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the Fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents
something that will replace that "old-time apron"
that served so many purposes.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron,
except maybe a little Love and Caring !


Guess what? Aprons seem to be making a come back! They are once again readily available in the market place. BUT, some of the best I've seen are featured in a great etsy shop called Aprons and More. I'll share just a few pics of those beautiful handmade aprons here but, please, go and look for yourself.

Don't need an apron at the moment, but looking for a good read?

Check out her blog here. From her home in "middle" Georgia this great woman shares a warm loving look at family life, sharing the adventures of such characters as Sweet Mama, Skippy and Beau, among others. (By the way, Beau is one of those 4-footed, furry family members. You know the kind, they think they rule the world!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Move over Julie Powell, here comes Robyn Okrant.

First came Julie Powell. She was infatuated by Julia Child and her cooking and, in a moment of inspiration (or possibly, just desperation) she set out to accomplish something. That something turned out to be cooking her way through Julia’s cookbook. Ultimately, she accomplished several somethings. She did the cooking, AND kept a daily journal of the experience in the form of a blog. The blog developed quite a following and, ultimately, became a story worth telling - thus the movie “Julie and Julia.” I, for one, loved the movie. I give Julie credit for perseverance and for coming up with the idea.

Now, comes Robyn Okrant. Robyn has just published a book entitled Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk. Robyn spent 2008, following all of the advice and recommendations made by Oprah. She read the books, bought the shoes and furniture and ate the food recommended by the media icon. She even followed Oprah’s advice and recommendations about one’s sex life. It was time consuming and costly. She estimates she spent over 1200 hours incorporating all that advice and spent at least $4,700 in the course of the year. (Incidentally, she says the sexual advice resulted in a somewhat “boring” sex life.)

Oprah claims to provide information to help her viewers and readers (of O Magazine) to live their “best life.” When asked if she found her “best life,” Robyn says she did find some clarity in areas of her life and, once the experiment was over and she could relax, she thinks she did find happiness and comfort in her life.

I don’t know. I like Oprah. I think she often gives great advice or gets me thinking about how to improve a situation BUT one size does not fit all. That goes for pantyhose, cars, jobs, and, yes, even sex lives.

I don’t think Oprah ever intended for anyone to take every word she says as gospel. I’m sure she doesn’t want all the women out here in the audience to begin thinking, acting, dressing and behaving like Stepford Wives cut from the same cloth using the same pattern. I believe she has always encouraged independent thinking, self reliance and doing what makes an individual happy with their life.

No one has heard from Oprah on this subject yet. While it may be quite flattering to have someone foster that much faith in you and your advice, it is a daunting responsibility I’m not sure she wants.

I have to think Robyn saw the basic concept executed by Julie Powell and decided to capitalize on that general idea herself. I consider her effort a basic copycat type action. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a brilliant approach. Attach Oprah’s name to anything and it will sell. I’m sure her book will rise quickly on the best-seller lists. She will make money off that $4,700 investment and it will be a great stepping stone to her further literary success in the future. She’s already making the rounds of the TV talk shows.

Robyn appears well educated (She was a graduate student at the time of her experiment.) She is obviously quite savvy in the ways of the world. (She knew who to hitch her wagon to!) I have not looked at either of her blogs. (She journaled about her experiment on and has now started a new blog entitled I’m guessing both feature paid advertising.

I’m sure there’s someone out there now trying to come up with a new twist on following Martha Stewart. Look for that new venture coming to a prison near you soon.

I’ve given it some thought. I think I’ll follow Paula Deen. I’m sure I won’t write a book about it and they’ll never ask me to do a screenplay but, who knows, maybe the butter producers of the world will beat down my door. Or maybe, I’ll just wander on down to the Deen homestead, find me a big ole lounge chair in the shade overlooking the river and share a mint julep or such with her. I’d just love to have a personal chat with her. Paula’s my kind of hero!

Paula, let's do lunch!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The FREE offer one should refuse!!

Although common fodder for stand-up comics, late night TV hosts and a number of sit-com story lines, drunk diving is no laughing matter. Most of us know someone personally who has been traumatically affected by the actions of a drunk driver but I've got to admit this little news tidbit brought a smile to my face. Is there such a thing as an "ironic smile" ?

For the tenth year, the McGuire, Jennings & Miller Funeral Home in Rome, Georgia, ran a holiday promotion for New Year's Eve. Now, you might wonder just what kind of promo a funeral home can come up with - "2 for 1" deals, "in by 8 p.m." specials, "DIY embalming" classes - it boggles the mind!

Oh, but they really came up with a good one ! A FREE funeral including the casket, grave, preparation of remains and, even, the limo for anyone willing to sign a contract stating they intended to drink or take drugs and then drive on New Year's Eve and, if as a result, they died in a wreck on that day !!

Inspired by the loss of a family member as a result of a drunk driver, they started the promotion to draw attention to the issue and to make drivers think twice before getting behind the wheel after imbibing. Hopefully, the publicity surrounding their "offer" will keep other families from experiencing such a loss.

Of course, there are some restrictions or rules to the offer. The potential victim must come into the funeral home in person with a copy of their driver's license and next of kin to complete an official funeral plan and sign a written contract. They must then sit down and write letters to their loved ones explaining why they chose to gamble with their lives and the lives of others by drinking (or drugging) and then driving. The funeral home will hold the letters for the victim at that point.

Thankfully, for the 10th year, there were no takers for this FREE offer. McGuire, Jennings & Miller intend to continue the promotion again next New Year's Eve.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Say, what?!? Jewelry from reindeer poop!!!

As most of you know, I’m a reindeer collector. Yes, I admit it. I love all things reindeer. There are over 500 reindeer oriented items in my collection (I haven’t counted this year, so let’s just stick to the “over 500” figure.) They keep watch from kitchen shelves, tops of cabinets, hallways and peek out from even the tightest corners BUT I don’t have any Magical Reindeer Gems!!!

How did I ever miss these?

The creative little elves and a fantastic PR drive at Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Illinois, has made these bits and pieces (or would that be “blobs” ) of sterilized reindeer dung a sought after, “gotta have” item this year. Yep, you heard me right. “Reindeer Dung!!!” Sign me up for the 2010 advance sales list, please. (Seriously. Santa, if you’re reading this, I really do NEED one of these.)

They always say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” So, in this case, “One critter’s s--- (err) excrement is another being’s GEMS !?!

Each piece is handmade and includes one “gem”. Volunteers actually collect dime-sized bits of reindeer droppings (“gems“)which are then dehydrated, sanitized in a an autoclave machine, painted with glittery paint and drilled to attach a hanging loop or ring.

They actually made the first ornaments last year and sold them in the zoo’s gift shop. They were a hit and, as news spread, sales went national. (They have received international requests too but it seems there are federal regulations that don’t allow reindeer droppings to be exported.) Last year, they sold over $5,000 worth of gems.

This year, in response to customer requests, the necklaces were added to the product line. They sold out of the 2000 ornaments and 100 necklaces for proceeds of about $16, 500. (Ornies sell for $7.50 in the gift shop, $10 by mail and necklaces at $15 and $20, respectively.) Kudos to those who came up with a constructive means of battling the city’s budget cuts to the zoo’s operating budget.

As the story goes, these unique little ornaments and necklaces grew out of a tale told by retired Miller Park Zoo Superintendant, John Tobias. Or, maybe, the story developed around these creations. (After all, everybody needs a gimmick, right?)

It went something like this:
"John’s grandmother used to gather her grandchildren and take them outside on Christmas Eve to scatter homemade chocolate chips. She would tell the children that the chips would attract Santa and his reindeer to their home because reindeer would know that other reindeer had already visited and left droppings…”
So … it follows, that if you hang a Magical Reindeer Gem ornament on your tree or wear one of these necklaces on Christmas Eve, it will help Santa and his reindeer find their way to your house !

If you’d like information about the 2010 Gem product availability forwarded to you when available, please send a note to and ask to have your email address added to her mailing list.

As I said, I’ve got to get one of these for next Christmas!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"The hurrier I go, the behinder I get !"

I've always been told that's an old Amish saying, but I've never heard the Amish speak that way. We do a lot of business in Amish country and, while they do have some unique sayings, I sometimes think this one is just part of the myth about the Order.

It does , however, speak the truth. It seems the more I set out to do, the less I'm accomplishing. I'm choosing to blame it on The Big Guy. He distracts me and misleads me along the way. When he's at work, I usually get a lot done and I cross things off my list at a steady pace. When he's home, I seem to get very little done and then, only do things grudgingly. He's been home since Wednesday afternoon. Not much has gotten done.

Today's big activity was going out to breakfast, something we try to do every other week or so on the weekend. Seriously, we went to breakfast and came home. That's it. We were back snug in our warm living room before 10 a.m.!! That's exactly where we've stayed. (Baby, it's cold outside!!)

The most constructive thing I did was read my e-mail and add one listing to the shop.

Yep, I added the first of the hamster shirts to the shop! My offline sales of this one are rolling pretty good. What can I say? Hamsters are BIG at the moment!! You can check out the listing here.

So, I'm already behind for the year!! (I didn't add anything yesterday!) One of my Business Goals was to add one item per day for the month of January. This should accomplish several things.

First, it will rebuild the shop stock. (You can't sell what you haven't got!)

Secondly, it will bring my shop to the front of the line at least once each day. I'm not a big believer in relisting for that purpose. I consider it a waste of money as it hasn't worked well for me in the past. I know I personally get tired of seeing the same merchandise day after day as sellers relist simply to get their name out there. I would prefer to get there with new listings.

As an added push, I've made a habit of putting at least 10 blurbs in the promotion area of the Etsy forum each time I add an item. Again, I'm not sure this is useful but it takes little effort and costs nothing. I have found the best way to get views is putting a blurb on Twitter when I list something new. The promo section of the forum got me 2 views in 40 minutes today. Twitter brought 18 in less than 2 minutes. I feel most of those coming from the forums are sellers who are just taking a gander. Folks on Twitter actually have to make the effort to change sites and may actually have an interest in buying. I have had sales traced directly to Twitter.

One of my Home-Related Goals was to add at least one freezer meal each week to my stockpile. This goal was for a specific time period, after-all, my freezer isn't that big. At any given time, I like to have 5 or 6 meals stored up that can simply be pulled out and heated. These come in handy when the schedule gets tough, the weather gets bad and limits runs to the grocery store, we have surprise company (this happens a lot around here!), or even when I just feel lazy. The holiday rush completely wiped out all stockpiled meals.

I just barely squeezed that one in tonight by putting a pork shoulder in to cook overnight. (I slow cook it for about 13 hours.) I'll get up in the morning and make a large pot of pulled pork. We'll eat some and stockpile the rest. I often do two shoulders at once but I only had one on hand this time.

I really had hoped to have a more exciting start to the year. It feels like I've already WASTED valuable time. On the other hand, I've spent quality time with my man!

Okay, I've at least spent a fair quantity of time with him this week!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A few more splashes of paint --

Just a few of those things that kept me busy these past couple of weeks...

Most of these were gifts for members of the family. Copies of some may make it into my etsy shop, but not all. (A lot of my shop merchandise is inspired by items madefor or requested by family members.)

Some of these sets were based on tops I already carried for the shop but I designed matching bottoms to go with them for the purposes of the gifts.

I gave quite a few sets of potholders out this year, too! Some were accompanied by copies of the family cookbook. (That was a gift I first put together two Christmases ago but some newer members of the family received their first copy this year.) Most included some cookie recipe cards.

Then, there were a few special requests:

And that's what I've been up to !!!