Sweets & Treats Gallery

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ornies and christmas trees...

I'm only a little embarrassed to say that I have been decorated for Christmas since November 6th. I needed some cheering up. Although I LOVE my mini elephant tree and my "sweets" tree, the tree I grew up with is the one that I will always cherish in my heart. It's tradition that my Momma lights and garlands the tree. I hang the first ornament, usually a baby rattle with a clear covering on the rattle part where you see a miniature baby sleeping in her crib and a stocking hanging on the crib's post. It reads "Baby's First Christmas." I like this ornament because its my very first. I also like the Santa Claus who has miniature cookies in his see-through belly. It's so cute. I enjoy looking at the rocking horses and the houses--two collections my Momma started for me from Hallmark (and probably regrets now... they are lengthy series). It's fun to see how different each is. 

There are also those special ornaments of the handmade sort with construction paper and glitter.  There's my mom's favorite from her little brother, my Uncle Wally, a glitter star, and my parents tree topper for the first years of their marriage. And there's the cute photo ornament I made, and the corn husk angel tree topper handmade for our elementary school's Christmas boutique. Handmade ornaments are funny... but so sentimental.

I have always loved Christmas trees and their ornaments. When you look at someone's ornaments, you get a glimpse of them. My Momma's trees are always gorgeous!

May the spirit live in you this holiday!

Merry Christmas,

cookie ornies...

Take a peeksie of my newest Etsy additions (click the pic to view item in store):
set of 6 gingerbread men ornaments, non-edible
set of 10 holly leaf ornaments, non-edible
set of 6 snowflake ornaments, non-edible
set of 6 candy cane ornaments, non-edible

They are just adorable!!!  I have them all over my "sweets" Christmas tree.  I can't get enough of them.  I made my Momma an early Christmas present of 24 different ornaments.  She just loves them and plans to use some in apothecary jars, old-fashioned candy jars and on festive plates in her Christmas decor.  

Do you love these?  Want to order some?  I make Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, stars, hearts, bells, scalloped edged diamonds, and much more in any amount and in any color.  Most are made with vintage, green handled cookie and biscuit cutters which adds to its incredibly unique and nostalgic appeal! 


Friday, October 31, 2008

growth quote...

"Growth is a rare phenomenon. It is natural, yet rare. When the seed has found its right soil, it grows. It is very natural; growth is natural but to find the right soil - that is the very crux of the matter."  -Osho, 1931-1990

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

making action...

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." -Dale Carnegie

Ways to make action:
1. Never stoop.
2. Be smarter.
3. Engage. Get involved. Make change.
4. Know that you can't change any one's way of thinking, but discuss your beliefs in order to continual sharpen your stone!
5. Pray!
6. Love the life you've got.
7. Turn off the news, FM radio and talk shows. Do your own research and decide for yourself!
8. Don't question yourself. Sometimes it's not you who's crazy!
9. Stay positive. 
10. Live your truth, even when people tell you you're wrong!

God Bless America!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

100 things about me...

1. I like staying up late and making good use of my best hours.
2. I love iced coffee... flavored, sweetened, with lots of organic non-fat milk.
3. I am blessed to have two parents whom I adore, respect, and enjoy spending time with.
4. I love my fiance.  He is so handsome, nurturing, interesting, creative, smart, fun, fair, unique, funny, talented and wonderful!  I can't wait to be married to him!
5. I love Mexican food.
6. I also love Vietnamese and Japanese food.
7. I love to bake.
8. I did pretty well in school.
9. I've got spunk and spirit.  I like that about myself.
10. I love God.  I have faith in this country.  I'm proud to be an American.
11. I've considered a career in politics.
12. I enjoy public speaking. 
13. I am passionate about leadership!
14. I might want to be a teacher some day.
15. I miss my Grandfathers.
16. Godiva is my favorite chocolate.
17. I love pink.
18. I collect antiques.
19. I like scrapbooking.
20. I like to make jewelry.
21. I love giving gifts.
22. I love to organize!
23. I take a ton of nutritional supplements/vitamins.
24. I love the autumn. 
25. I love to decorate.
26. I love the rain.
27. I love Christmastime.
28. I like to send people mail.
29. My favorite city is Boston.
30. I have a difficult time finding pants that are long enough for me.
31. When given the choice, I will always have dessert after dinner.
32. I love diet Dr. Pepper.
33. I love pumpkins.
34. I prefer cold weather.
35. I like to cuddle.
36. I am very blunt.
37. I clean when I'm stressed.
38. I don't love working out.
39. I heart cupcakes.
40. I have a charm bracelet from my childhood.
41. I like gum.
42. I love champagne.
43. I like my boss.
44. I like my coworkers.
45. I clip coupons.
46. I like to make lists for everything.  
47. I literally can't go anywhere without my planner.
48. I usually have more than one Christmas tree.
49. I feel security in having a stocked pantry.
50. I want a laptop.
51. I like make-up.
52. I use to raise sheep.
53. I'm a dog person.
54. I like playing sports.
55. I have a sharp tongue that I rarely hold.
56. I am fiercely protective my family.
57. I like bath fizzies.  
58. I like candles that smell like baked goods.
59. My closet is organized by color.
60. I like bags & purses.
61.I'm allergic to cats.
62. I like to journal.
63. I love photos.
64. I like floral patterns.
65. I like checking my mail everyday.
66. I like love songs.
67. I am part Native American.
68. I use to go to Disneyland every summer with my Grandparents.
69. I don't like or watch scary movies.
70. I collect vases.
71. I regularly donate used items, money and/or time to charities.
72. My best friend and I share the same name with different spellings.
73. I try to live a life of integrity.
74. I still need my parents.  I think they still need me to need them...
75. I have very few regrets about my life.
76. Cancer annoys me.
77. I still travel with my high school basketball duffel bag.
78. I like pens, markers, pencils, crayons, etc. 
79. I like snack foods.
80. My dad is the best cook.
81. I enjoy natural light and soft background noise.
82. I like sleeping in and laying in bed looking out of the window for as long as it takes to get out of bed... especially when its raining.
83. I really enjoy going to weddings.
84. I save letters people mail me... I'm sooo sentimental.
85. I have a good sense of humor.
86. I like the ocean.
87. Growing up I collected rocks, marbles, coins, sea shells, candy.
88. If I'm not out of control busy, I'm bored.
89. I like stimulating conversation.
90. I like the elderly.
91. I like the TV series Pushing Daisies.  It is so charming, weird and sweet.
92. I value Veterans!
93. I LOVE fresh fruit.
94. I really like to entertain.
95. I cry easily.
96. I like calendars.  I have five in my cubicle at work.
97. I have three magazine subscriptions.
98. I feel blessed... for so much!
99. I like fresh flowers.
100. I love life!!!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

my lovey...

I am betrothed to my college sweetheart and we plan to wed in autumn of next year.
Today, after seeing a play at our local community theater, I asked my Momma if she'd like to stop in for a few minutes to a boutique wedding dress shop to look. Delighted she asked if I had my camera. This would be the first dress looking excursion (much more exciting than the play we saw...) After parking near the shop, we realized the theater and the shop were literally a kitty corner block from one another. We laughed because it took us a while to navigate the one way streets and parallel parking. Butterflies danced with excitement in my tummy as we approached the door, the same way I felt yesterday as I saw my fiance walk down the stairs at a work function that he volunteered to film... He's so handsome! Closed: Sundays. Rats! 

Oh well, another time.

I work hard not to fall into that typical cliched bride, solely focused on how this life affirming day celebrates only her. The fiance and I have decided that this day is a celebration of those who love us too--not only me or me and him. When you start to think about this special day in that context, suddenly its so much more fun and less overwhelming!

I found an adorable pink and sliver glittered "Bride-to-Be" garland on sale a few weeks ago. I tied it to the head of my antique, iron bed. It is so sweet and fun reminder... like I'd forget!  ;)

Although the media is all doom and gloom with deafening news about our economy and the stress and chaos of the encroaching election are overwhelming, there are still blessings to count. There are still joys to enjoy. If you can and when you can, look for them. Humans are resilient. We will find our way through all of this. Have faith. Pray. Enjoy those you love. And live!


Friday, September 26, 2008

fall has landed...

I finally took some photos my my autumn decorations and my momma's! Enjoy!

Happy Halloweenie!


Monday, September 15, 2008

champagne cupcakes...

Thought I'd share some photos from my fiance's parent's anniversary party... well, the cupcakes I made at least. They were champagne cupcakes!

Also, big news! My mom and I went pumpkin shopping on Friday afternoon. Yea!! When I got home I had an hour before a Scrap-n-Yak with my Mom and a friend of the family... so I decorated for the season. If I think of it, I'll take some photos to share!

Bubbly yours,

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

wedding buzz...

First, I'd like to share photos from my fiance's cousin's wedding this weekend in beautiful Half Moom Bay! It was a perfect day on the gold course. The colors of the wedding were robin's egg blue and chocolate brown.  And we had a fabulous good party!  Congrats to the Bride & Groom!
Second, yes, it did read "fiance's cousin's!" I'd like to announce that I am engaged!!!

Have a marvelous Monday!

Over the moon,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm smack dab in the middle of trying to surround myself with things I really love. I was cursed, however, with the "someday," or the "you might be able to use it when" gene. You know, the inability to get rid of something because what if I lose weight or if it comes back in style or if I'd be able to make use of it someday

Here's the thing, by having all these superfluous things that I don't really love, I am taking away from the things I truly love. I make it a routine to go through every drawer/cabinet/closet every couple of months to cull out things I don't truly love. The beauty in this is that every couple months, I love certain things a little less and others even more. What I can't part with today, I might part with in a month and what I love, I take time to appreciate. It works for me. I keep a wicker basket (my Momma's old laundry basket that I made my blanket basket in college, aw!) tucked away where I can store those items that I am thinking about donating. I wait until its full. Then I go through it one more time before donating the contents. I usually put back a few things that I'm not ready to give. But ultimately, I'm able to donate many nice items to the Cancer Society where they are sold to raise money for the cause. It's truly a win-win. I feel freer being free of these things and I feel good for helping the Cancer Society in its search for the cure, no matter how small my part.

That brings me to the topic: collecting. I was born a collector. I got that gene. My Momma says, "Three of anything is a collection." I think this is an excuse to need at least three of everything.

What is it about collections? I think it is an essential part of human existence. For me, my collections give me comfort in my space, purpose when I shop and create and tell the story of who I am. I like to think I'm non-materialistic. But collections are inherent human value on material goods. So, I suppose I am. I like the memory of that things hold and the beauty of pre-owned things, hence my shabby chic style.

Collections are comforting. They help to create a home that is familiar and meaningful. I like collections!

Yours always in threes,

Monday, August 11, 2008

oh, that fresh tomato smell...

I love the smell of tomato vines--the alluringly organic, fresh and pungent smell of the green vines and leaves make up one of nature's most intoxicating and beautiful summer-time luxuries: home grown tomatoes!
Tomatoes bring to mind produce a great recipe for a veggie rinse I use on my produce. Here's my recipe:

Equal parts water and distilled white vinegar, about 1 cup
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
20-25 drops grapefruit seed extract

Combine water and vinegar in a spray bottle with a pump. I like to use a recycled bottle from a mild green cleanser well washed. Carefully add the baking soda. Next, drop in the GSE. Gently swirl the bottle to mix the ingredients. Because of the baking soda, the mixture could bubble over. Spray mixture on produce, and let it sit on the produce for about 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse off the spray and enjoy! You may notice the slight smell of vinegar on your produce. I have not noticed any interference with taste.

Hope you're enjoying some fresh summer produce!


Saturday, August 09, 2008

sweet lil' shout out...

Guess what!?! I got a shout out  from Analise on her blog Sugar*Sugar!!! She is a wonderfully accommodating and talented artist I found on Etsy! I seriously could buy everything in her shop and I have a feeling I will continue to buy more things in the future. She and I have similar taste. 

Thanks for the mention Analise. And thanks for the fabulous addition to the Sweets N' Treats party! You're wonderful! 


Friday, August 08, 2008

life is worth living...

I love to live life and I love to feel. I'm innately drawn to life affirming things. Feeling something, good or bad, help us feel alive.

It's been over a year since my Grandpa passed away.  And it's nearly eight years since my childhood best friend died under odd and confusing circumstances. I think about them often, especially this week. I've been blessed with so many serendipitous moments. Lucidity, coincidence, miraculous--call it what you will.  I dreamt of both my Grandpa and Jen for many, many months after then each passed.  Sometimes they still stop in to say hello and let me know that are okay.  Still, it hurts to love people who are no long living because you miss them in human form.  Its one of those weird human experiences that we never fully get over.

What's been on my mind most recently? Matt, Liz and Madeline. A friend shared the blog with me. Its here that Matt writes of a phenomenon--people everywhere taking part in his grieving, checking his blog at their place of work... For two days, I have been the woman reading through entries, crying, grieving, holding my heart tightly, saying silent prayers, shedding tears, sniffling (and silently hoping no one will walk by my cube while I'm having a mini break down)

I can't begin to tell you their story.  You'll have to start where I started, at the beginning  and then learn about LizKeep reading. You'll learn about Matt and Madeline, the little girl who lost her momma. You'll fall in love, your heart will break and you will be called to do something, because you'd hope others would do the same for you if you were Matt and Madeline, even if its read all the back-blog entries, cry and pray that Matt can make it through another day...

I suppose the message of all of my ramblings is: life is so, so precious

I've worked hard to tell those around me what I think and feel, for better or worse, but especially when its positive. I try to live honestly and do the right thing. I try to live. Lord knows I'm not even close to perfect... but I work hard at being my best. You don't know what life will throw at you or how the roads unexpectedly fork. Liz certainly hadn't planned to depart from her brand new baby and her happy marriage.  It sounds like she really lived the life she had.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

sweets n' treats party...

All my extra time and creative energy lately was used to plan an early surprise “Sweets N’ Treats” tea birthday party for my momma. Hours of planning the perfect guest list, favors, invitations, decorations and menu all for a very stunning and successful event!
birthday garland

Sweets N’ Treats with a sub-theme of pink & green 

Of the ten invited guests, eight were able to attend. I sent a simple print-yourself-invitation. It had a pink scalloped edge with a pink and green spring bouquet of flowers at the top. Guests were asked to arrive promptly at 5:45 p.m. (not before or after) and to park away from my momma’s home, where I hosted the party. Each dressed, appeasing my bold request, in pinks and greens.

 One table had a sage green table cloth, the other a hunter green. In the center, a cake plate hosted a variety of clear glass jars, vases and candle holders filled with hot pink crepe myrtle blossoms. At each place setting was a gift bag filled with the needed materials for games and the make-it-yourself candy goodie bags with a ribbon to tie for the candy bar. In front of that, a sage green satin box with a custom made French ribbon rose.  Inside each box was a personalized note on the bottom with a doily cupping a dark chocolate raspberry cream, the birthday girl's favorite from See's. Scattered around the table was a punched scalloped paper for guests to sign for a scrapbook I'm making of the event for the birthday girl. Additionally, a "candy bar", adorned with a handmade birthday garland, where guests could sample some of the 20 different pink, green and white candies on display.

I made them myself! We played Tea-ingo, like Bingo, but with tea items instead of letters and numbers and Birthday Girl Quiz where the guests had to answer like they thought the birthday girl would answer.

A gorgeous cake, made to match the invitation (white cake with raspberry filling); Assorted pastries including baklava, fruit tarts, brownies, lemon bars, magic bars and more; Fruit salad (made by Grandma!); Wafer cookies, a favorite of the birthday girl; sweet beverages

We had lots of fun! She was genuinely surprised and tickled pink (pun intended)!


Thursday, July 31, 2008

seven time savers...

Here are some easy ways to streamline your day, save time and frustration and potentially become and stay organized.

1. Organize tomorrow's stuff today!

Every night before bed, I organize my items for the next day (not my outfits... I wish! That would save time!!!) and check my calendar for appointments and to dos.  I also keep an ever-expanding to do list with me at all times. I put my purse and work bag by the door with all the items I will need for the following day. This saves stress and time in the morning while your trying to rush out the door. I also have a bowl for my keys right by the front door. I always put them there when I walk in so I always know where they are when I'm leaving. Simple but so effective!
2. Do Errands Before Work
I like to do my grocery store errands in the morning before work (when everyone else is still sleeping!) and its conveniently on my way to work. My grocery store opens at 6:00 a.m. I can pick-up coffee, purchase stamps, drop-off my mail, rent/return a DVD rental, buy my lunch, order a cake... I'd say 70% of my most common errands can be done in one stop. And, by going early, I avoid the tremendous stress and time crunch in the evening when everyone else is grocery shopping. Additionally, I plan a well organized list of needs in an order that makes since while shopping (i.e. I group all the fresh produce together, meat items together, etc.). This prevents back tracking while shopping.  On my list I also note items that I want to purchase organic with an "O" and if I have a coupon to use with a "C" to the left of the item on my list.  I mark the quantity the right of the item.  I also keep my coupons in the zipper pocket of my wallet for easy access while shopping.  I routinely remove and recycle unused and expired coupons and definitely recycle unneeded receipts. Lastly, when I have multiple errands to do out and about town, I literally plan the most efficient driving route. Saves on time, back-tracking, gas and stress. It seems so simple... and it is!  Just a little bit of planning saves soooo much time!
3. Pay Bills Online
I like to pay all of my bills online. It's that simple. Pay them online, on time, and its is sooo efficient.  And, save time and a stamp.  I know, this one is a no brainer!
4. Quick & Easy Lunches
I take microwavable frozen dishes for work. They are cheap and easy. I buy them ten at a time at the store with a coupon so I always have some on hand. It saves money and lots of time. You never have to fight the lunch-hour-rush at Taco Bell. Plus you have portion and calorie control.  Canned soups provide the same quick, easy and affordable lunches as you rush out the door in the morning.  Just grab a can.  I keep a bowl and spoon at work.
5. Clean Every Single Day
I make a point to organize and do light cleaning in my home (and at work) daily. When I use something, I put it away. Generally, this prevents huge messes from accumulating. Plus, the mental anxiety that I prevent is worth the snide remarks from friends and family about being OCD. It's probably true, but I always know where things are and my house is usually pretty clean. Plus, I keep a constant shopping list of cleaning supplies that are running low so I am never rushing out last minute for things I need. I watch the sales and stock up when they go on sale. I use earth friendly cleaning supplies that are more costly. Coupons and sales are my best friend!

6. Make Snail Mail A Priority

Correspondence is easy when you have a plan. I'm horrible at returning calls immediately (although I do return calls eventually). I like snail mail (the lost art!). I keep a stack of cards in my drawer at work. That way, if I need to send a card, I can. I also try to keep addresses and phone numbers with me at all times along with extra stamps in my wallet.

7. DVR the Musts Only

Since I don't have the Internet at home, I don't have to worry about whittling away my evenings on the web. But, I do love TV. My DVR is very useful in allowing me to record only the shows I LOVE to watch and I can fast-forward through the commercials. No better way to save time if you ask me!!!
So, there you have it, my seven tips for saving time. I'm sure many of you already integrate these strategies into your daily life. If not, give one or two a try...

Monday, July 28, 2008

a carnival in venice...

A magical place, Strauss Island, has been taking audiences away for over 20 years in the backdrop of the tiny island, the skies twinkling stars and the sounds of a 32-piece orchestra playing the compositions of Johann Strauss. This year, we were "whisked away to a carnival at the piazza amid the watery streets of Venice." Each year our blanket is laid reserving our space for the evening's festivities, a picnic is packed with delicious delicacies and we are prepared to go into a dreamland of waltz. The costumes, handmade, fit each performer perfectly. The set is creatively designed in a unique fashion. The dancers have tediously prepared each step. A welcome addition to this year performance: an Italian singer, fire performers, acrobats, and clowns! And of course, every year the story is about two young lovers... 
My favorite part of the whole performance was seeing my 7th grade computer teacher in a gypsy outfit with a gold earring. He looked soooooo whimsical... which is in great contrast to the semi-uptight teacher I knew years ago.  It truly made the evening and I've never laughed so hard!
What a delightful way to spend a Sunday evening under the stars!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

the bag lady...

My parents tell it well--the story of me, as a toddler: "The Bag Lady!"
As a child, if I didn't have at least 3 or 4 bags filled with lots of junk trailing behind me in my every adventure, then you could find me surrounded in a sea of crayons and paper, sitting beneath my bedroom window in the afternoon sunlight, happy as a lark.
To this day, I still love coloring (crafting, scrapbooking, creating) and I still love bags. I'm not necessarily a "purse" person, although I have plenty. I do like purses. Nice purses. Pretty purses. Functional purses. Big purses. 
But bags, I love me some bags. I have an African market basket in the trunk of my car to hold strictly my reusable grocery totes.
Much to my delight, my co-worker gave me an amazing tan grocery tote with an adorable design. I love it. It has a website, so I checked it out. It's an amazing clothing line with fun stuff. The point is, however, that totes lead to such great things in life. They carry food safely from the market to the kitchen. Totes carry goodies from the craft store to a studio. They carry lunch from home to work. They carry hopes and dreams.  Wow.  That was epic. Ha!
Who knew, decades later, that I'd still love me some bags!?!

Monday, July 21, 2008

mission made impossible...

RIBBONS! I spent the better half of my Sunday morning organizing my ribbon collection. I'm excited to say, I'm finished. 
I sorted my ribbon by color in piles.
Then, I put the ribbons in color order in a hanging show rack on the back of the door.
It's beautiful, functional and easy to see my inventory while crafting.   I use shoe organizers for everything: cooking tools and spices in my kitchen; cleaning tools in my laundry room; scarves and accessories in my closet.  Heck, I use them for everything but shoes!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

pumpkin donuts...

For breakfast along with a banana, I enjoyed a pumpkin doughnut from a recipe in the book Deceptively Delicious, a gift from a co-worker Linda at Christmas last year. The making of the pumpkin doughnuts was a wish for the early arrival of Autumn.

Make them! They're gooood!!!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

my favorite quote...

And good day to you.
I want to share a quote with you. 
It's my favorite. 
I like it because it reminds me to be authentically me.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Have a happy day!


Monday, June 23, 2008

15 summer weekend ideas...

Summer is here! I had a few files saved on my parent's computer. I found this file and I really want to share it. I've adapted this article by Georgia Andrews, but unfortunately, I can't remember where I found it. My guess would be Martha Stewart... but I didn't search for it. I wish I had time, because the article also had very beautiful photos that linger in your head as tiny pockets of summer joy. The article is a few years old, but the suggestions are timeless. Hope you enjoy!

"1. Gifts of the sea. Let summer trips inspire a keepsake project. Put together a display from shells and souvenirs you've collected from the shore. Or create a still life and give it to a friend. Rocks polished smooth by waves can be as unique and beautiful as shells. Coat stones from the beach with baby oil and place them in a bowl. They'll look as though they just washed up on shore.

2. In stitches. While browsing through late-summer tag sales or vintage clothing stores, you just might discover a pair of wonderfully broken in jeans. Make the most of the soft denim by converting the pants into a skirt. Personalize your new garment by sewing on a wide hem made from a vintage print or a simple eyelet border. For a fun alternative, make a modern-day poodle skirt in honor of your pet. Cut a simple dog or cat shape out of a cheerful fabric-small prints or felt work best. Attach it to an A-line or wraparound denim skirt with an easy-to-use adhesive like HeatnBond Ultra Hold Iron-on Adhesive, available at jo-ann.com. Hemstitch by hand to finish or add a satin stitch with your sewing machine.

3. Walk in the woods before dusk and listen to the birdsong (this might require driving and gas being so high, this could be difficult for some).

4. This one’s for the record. Throw a backyard party with music you play on a vintage record player. Put on songs to which you dance with a partner— tunes from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s are best—and watch the effect. Find players on Ebay. On a sultry late-summer night, host an outdoor cocktail party. Play classic jazz like the Dave Brubeck Quartet or vocalists like Tony Bennett, both available on vinyl at footlight.com.

5. Take a relaxing lavender bath. Let the hot water run over a nosegay of fresh lavender leaves and blossoms. For an even more aromatic experience, add some Lavender Bath Syrup from Sweet Grass Farm; order from sweetgrassonline.com.

6. Refreshing. Invite a couple of friends over for lavender lemonade. Brew 2 cups of lavender-infused leaf tea, cool it, and then add the juice of 4 lemons and honey—lavender, of course—to taste. Serve over ice. Order culinary lavender from Penzeys Spices: 4 oz.

7. With cherries on top. Let them eat cake—without turning on a hot oven. Transform a store-bought cake into a sumptuous treat by topping it with fresh cherries. You can also use strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries. Summer’s harvest produces so many fresh berries from which to choose. Just remember: To get the most flavor, use berries as soon as possible—a few days at most after you buy them. And select containers without juice stains—signs of crushed, bruised berries, which might indicate overripe fruit.

8. Freeze fresh fruit juice in Popsicle molds for an icy treat.

9. Posh picnic. Skip the paper plates the next time you picnic. Gather up your assorted favorite china in a sturdy basket. It’s fun to mix and match dish styles and enjoy the transfer ware or vintage plates that you found at a tag sale. If you have one treasure with a pattern you absolutely love and want to create a picnic set, check out Replacements, Ltd. It offers a huge selection of china patterns—even old and discontinued ones.

10. Take a drive down a country road. Then pull over on a road less traveled and take a walk. If the path is grassy, go barefoot (again, gas prices might be a challenge)!

11. Ex libris. Visit your own bookshelves and reread a favorite novel, or pick up a classic you’ve been meaning to start but haven’t gotten around to yet. Particularly nice for summer weekend reading: Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck, My Antonia, by Willa Cather, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, and The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.

12. Stop by the farmers’ market for fresh herbs—look for lemon verbena or sorrel—then use them to heighten the flavor of your favorite grilled vegetables.

13. Do a favor. Create personalized place settings for a summer luncheon. Start by digging into that drawer filled with old note cards, spare buttons, and ribbons for materials. Not only will you clean out the drawer, you’ll have the makings of an original favor for each guest. Finish by writing each person’s name on his or her favor. Order crafts pens or markers from polymerclayexpress.com or pearlpaint.com.

14. Color theory. Spruce up a neglected room with a coat of paint. Try summery colors like Pratt & Lambert’s Snapdragon or Benjamin Moore’s Pure Joy and apply to just one wall. It will be easy enough to change when you’re ready for the rich palette of autumn.

15. Play croquet, Wiffle ball, or badminton. If you don’t have the equipment, invite a neighbor who does—or look for a used set at a yard sale."

Happy summer!


Monday, June 16, 2008

root beer cupcakes...

Happy Monday!

I have the taste results from a new recipe I tried for root beer cupcakes. I over cooked them. I was less than thrilled. My root-beer-loving-boyfriend only had one bite. Usually, he eats everything I make. Either he was very full or didn’t care for the cupcakes. The best part, however, was our darling nephew who loves “big fire” aka blowing out the birthday candles.

Regardless of the cupcakes mishap, here are some photos and a new recipe I’d like to try:

Root Beer Float Cupcakes
From http://www.yumsugar.com/494746

Yields 2 dozen cupcakes 

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup root beer schnapps

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned style root beer
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Root Beer Glaze:
4 cups confectioners sugar

1/3 cup root beer
3 Tbs. root beer schnapps*
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
*For a more kid friendly version, replace schnapps with more root beer
You will also need some extra root beer schnapps (1 Tbs. per cupcake) or for the kiddies use root beer (again 1 Tbs. per cupcake) You will also need some basic vanilla buttercream.


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. In a bowl, mix together root beer schnapps, root beer, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, mix until smooth
5. Sift in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
6. Mix with hand mixer on low, while slowly pouring in root beer mixture.
7. Mix until smooth and lump free.
8. Pour into lined cupcake pan. (Use foil cupcake liners to avoid "leakage" later.) Fill nearly to the top, you may think it’s over-filled, but it puffs up perfectly this way.
9. Bake for 15- 20 minutes, until golden brown and cake springs back when touched.
10. While cupcakes are baking, prepare your butter cream and root beer glaze. For glaze, put all ingredients into a bowl and mix with a whisk until smooth and lump free.
11. To assemble, start by letting cupcakes cool, still in the pan.
12. While still slightly warm, pour 1 Tbs. of root beer schnapps over each cupcake. Pour on slowly to allow schnapps (or regular root beer for the kiddies) to soak in.
13. Once the schnapps has soaked in and let sit for a few minutes, pour a couple tablespoons of glaze over each cupcake.
14. When the glaze sets up a bit and isn't too runny, put a "scoop" of buttercream atop each. For an added touch, you can even place a root beer barrel candy on each one.


tea bag tag wisdom...

From the tabs of my green chai tea bags, I'd like to share some tasty morsels:

"The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment."
"Sing from your heart."
"The soul is projection: represent it."
Hugs & Squeezes,

Thursday, June 05, 2008

pledging homemade...

Last Christmas I racked my brain to make handmade items. I took the handmade pledge, pledging to make handmade items, rather than picking something up at the mall.

Admittedly, I did cheat a little. It is MUCH harder than you think. But, if you can buy other peoples handmade items too, suddenly it's easier. I was limited by my own abilities... which resulted in the men receiving gift certificates for baked items.  Win, win.  I love to bake, they love to eat. Men are difficult to buy for anyway.

I think it’s infinitely more meaningful when someone has taken the time to make me something that they think I'll love. I also like the spend-time-together gift... like a certificate for a coffee date. I have so much stuff and I can buy myself what I need... I like the memory making moments.

Any who, you can take the
pledge too and start making or purchasing handmade goods too! Learn about why to buy hommade too!!!


a mini bday party for two...

It was my boyfriend's birthday.  
Happy Birthday to JPo! I love you! 


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

bridal shower cupcakes...

Yesterday was my wonderful co-worker's work wedding shower that I co-planned with a few other people (also her last day as she's getting married Saturday, 6/7/08). She absolutely glowed. We had lots of pizza, the bride's favorite, and, of course, we cleaned up her registry by purchasing all of her towels.

Weddings are a blessing. They are an amazing time for fellowship and a glimpse into the people's lives. Two people are joined forever, ideally. I love to watch the groom's face as the bride walks down the aisle. I love the families, the cake, the energy of the day. Most of all, I love to support my friends who are getting married on what is the beginning of a new adventure. I am a nut for weddings! Not a 27 Dresses kind of a nut though.

As for my co-worker, I am so excited for her. She is an amazing person who brightens every one of my work days with humor and support.  In her honor, I made cupcakes for her work shower. She loves Italy. Naturally, Italian wedding cupcakes were the cake of choice. The recipe, however, calls for coconut and pineapple. This also celebrates her honeymoon to Maui (and ditching me for another week at work... she's my cubicle neighbor).
Anywho, they were fantastic--easily in my top 5 list of favorite cupcakes!


Monday, June 02, 2008

what's news, bubba lou...

It’s been a creative and inspiring couple of days for me. I had a cupcake party on Friday night and went to a stamping party at my aunt's house on Sunday.

Here are some photos of the festivities, beginning first with my table from the cupcake party:

Here are the four projects my cousin & I made with our aunt. First, a birthday card with a chubby, happy clown. Next, a simple block and flower thank you card and a gift tag with handmade mini roses. And finally, a gift pouch with a layered sunflower stamp and glittered bee. My aunt is so talented and I had a blast!

I have to tell you, nearly a half a dozen cupcakes later, that this was the tastiest of weekends! Thanks to my friends who made the party a blast and my cousin and aunt for a crafty Sunday afternoon! 
I hope you have an inspired week!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

fig and ginger truffles...

For an out of town trip this Memorial Day weekend, I will be making Food Network Ellie Krieger's fig and ginger truffles with dried black mission figs, crystallized ginger, ground cinnamon, honey and dark chocolate. Ellie says they are perfect for radiant skin. They're low in sugar, high in fiber and are delicious.


Friday, May 16, 2008

just a little story about a clydesdale...

In college, I went to a club in San Francisco with my roomie, Nicole. In comparison, I am noticeably taller than most women. I was taken when a homeless gentleman, with no teeth, but I digress, hollered at me as we walked by, "Dammmmmmmmn gurl! You's a Clyyyyydesssdale!" I don't think he was hitting on me. I think he was drunk. It's a story I tell to illustrates a simple truth: I, like my mother, attract the odd ducks. 

My co-workers also liked this story, along with the trivia facts about Clydesdales that I gave them after lunch. I couldn't be a pony, or even a horse (which is still a large animal). I had to be a Clydesdale. This is one of my top 10 most memorably awkward moments. My dad likes to bring it up in large groups and chuckle about it. He also likes to talk about the time I almost go beat up at summer school by a group of sort girls who said, "You a f-ing giant!" I recently encouraged my father to tell my mom, "Damn momma, you lookin' deeeelicious!" after a teenager said it to me, in public, like it was a compliment. Ha! Pops told me it wasn't quite his style.

Oooohhhh... good times. 


Thursday, March 20, 2008

pie of the season...

For Christmas, I pledged to give only handmade gifts.  For my girlfriends and female family members, that wasn't too hard.  But for the men, it was a whole different story...!

I gave my Uncle the gift of a "Pie of the Season." Four pies, one every three months.  He chose his flavors, the first being cherry.

I had never made a cherry pie before.
I didn't taste this one.
But he did say it was fabulous, the best he's ever had.
My hunch is, because he is a very sweet uncle, is he was flattering me. But I'll take it!  ;)


Friday, February 15, 2008

happy heart day...

"Love is the answer. Now, what is your question?" -Author Unknown

I was surprised with a tray of take-out sushi, S. Pellegrino sparkling water, cookies-n-cream drumsticks, and a gorgeous red, handpicked flower. I love my hunny!

Hope you had an inspired Valentine's Day!

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