Friday, November 13, 2009

Warm, Soothing Love from My Mothers to You...and "Wives and Daughters"

Happy Friday evening to all! Today was L-O-N-G!!! It's really not fun to be manning a table at a craft fair all day when you just want to be home in your flannel jammies...know what I mean? Oh, well! I had some lovely conversations, saw some wonderful friends, a delicious lunch with my dear friend Barb, and sniffled all day long!

Last night, as my daughter, Sarah, and I were feeling miserable, I remembered something my Mom would brew up when someone in the family had a cold...Honey Lemon Drink is all I ever remember calling it. It was thick, pulpy, dowsed with golden, thick honey, and it felt like heaven going down...

Well, it seemed like just the thing last night, but I'd never made it for myself or my family--sometimes we forget the most wonderful, simple things, don't we? I called up my mom--pretty late in the evening, but never too late for a mom, right?!

We started talking about this lovely concoction, how I remembered her and Grammie (her mother, Velda) making it. Then I asked if she knew where it originated....then I got the goosebumps...(if you read my blog, you know I LOVE family history--it's just steeped into me--and little stories that connect are my favorite!) Mom said that Velda's mother, Estella used to make it, as did HER mother, Sarah (who my Sarah is named for).

It got more interesting to me as I reflected that Sarah Indiaetta Young Vance, my great-great grandmother, was born in Virginia during the Civil War and lived on her family's plantation (without slaves, by the way...her father believed slavery was absolutely wrong...I love knowing that!)

Her father, Absalom McDonald Young, was a travelling country doctor, and would go around to all the farms and other plantations caring for people. I started wondering last night, as I brewed my little concoction...just how far back did this little healing drink go? We'll never know, but isn't it wonderful to contemplate just how long mothers have been standing over a stove or at the fire, making this simple potion of lemons, honey and water for their children when they're ill?

(Can't you just smell the honey-lemonness of this beautiful(?) stuff!)

Here's all you do: Cut up as many lemons as you have--I used 5. Cut them into smallish pieces so they'll fall apart easily while boiling...get out as many seeds as you can without losing all the juice! Add enough water to cover lemons, then squeeze in more honey than you think you should (I just took off the squeeze-top!). Mom said you want to lemon/honey ratio to be almost equal, if that makes sense! Just boil it for about 30 minutes, then just let it steep on low heat, then mash it up with a potato masher to really get the pulp out...leave the rinds in the pot, however! Now you're ready for a mug full!

Drink it--pulp and all--and enjoy how soothing it feels going down that sore throat of yours (wait, that's mine!)

I wondered if my Sarah would like it, as it's pretty strong, but she loved it! My Mom called me later and said she was making a batch, too--she wasn't sick, but it just sounded good and comforting, and it was!

Just save the rest for later, add a bit more water, and honey, if needed, warm it up and enjoy some more! There... a little love from my mothers (and me!) to you!

The layout up above was a little tribute I made at Mother's Day just for have all of my mother-line on one page--aren't they beautiful? The roses and some of the papers are from Crafty Secrets' paper pads (can't remember which ones right now, sorry! The postcard image at the top and the beautiful Mothers' poem were free downloads from Sandy Redburn, the wonderful owner of Crafty Secrets.

Here they are close up: first, my wonderful mother, Karen...

Karen's mother, Velda, along with her mother Estella:

And finally, Sarah with her mother Matilda, wife of Absalom, the country doctor:

These are my beautiful mothers...I love them all!

Speaking of mothers, I have another favorite movie to share with you...I might as well do this every week--I seem to be doing it already, so why not?!

Have you seen "Wives and Daughters" yet? Oh, I hope so!!! If not, please rush right out and rent or just buy it! It's one you'll want to watch again and again!

This beautifully filmed movie is just about as soothing as a generations-old drink meant to cure you body and soul...! I won't give you any details, except that the cast is perfect; some of my favorite British actors, the scenery gorgeous, and the plot, delightfully funny and sad, all mixed perfectly together!

This is one that my girls and I want to watch every few months or's a long multi-part movie, so take a few days and fall in love with "Wives and Daughters", and let me know what you think!

To close out tonight, I want to share a beautiful vintage postcard from my collection--a gift to you, my lovely blogging friends! I just finished another mug of honey lemon drink and I'm feeling dowsy and happy. Hope you have a wonderful evening, and, as always, sweet dreams! (And may all of my sick friends feel better VERY soon!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanks to So Many, a Christmas Card, Yummy Cherry Dessert, and Oh, My! What a Sunset!

Good evening, everyone!

Well, ladies...I have very few brain cells today! The bug that was trying to bite me yesterday bit HARD! I'm mostly just really tired and muddle-headed--not good for a busy mom! Hope those of you that I know are ill are starting to feel better--wish I could brew up some of my Mom's hot honey-lemon drink for all of us while we sat and visited with a huge box of tissues nearby!

So many things to share today--we'll start off with some thanks, and then we'll end with's that? First off--thanks to two very dear blogging friends, who become more dear each day as thoughts and images are shared...Julie Ranae of Julie's Open Window, and Anne of Anne-ecdotes, have both presented me with this colorful, cheerful award:

Julie presented me with this yesterday, and Anne today--thank-you both, ladies! I'm so honored that you thought of me! Going along with this award, we are to tell you 5 things that you may not know about goes:

1. I LOVE history, as well as family history, and have been in love with both since I was a young girl.

2. I love to bake! Okay, this may not be such an unknown fact! I love finding new recipes, especially old family ones.

3. I love Old England and New England--they are my two favorite places on Earth! I was born in Boston, so I'm prejudiced, I suppose!

4. I love listening to classical music while I stamp--helps me think better and I love the atmosphere it creates. My kids love it, too (along with all the other kinds of music teenagers like!), which makes me happy!

5. My favorite thing to do when I have free time is to sit and watch one of my favorite period dramas (think "Pride and Prejudice", "Wuthering Heights", etc.), and I love to introduce them to my daughters, and help them to learn an appreciation for these wonderful old stories in a new way.

Well, that's all I could come up with today! (Hope you're still with me--that was long!)

I'd like to now present this around to 5 new friends: I was already going to present it to Anne, so here's a repeat award! Marie (oh, my! You've got to check out her blog--she's such an amazing cook, and just her pictures, descriptions and recipes make me want to whip up each and everything she posts about!), Darlene, Charlene, and Deb. Gosh! This is really hard to do when there are so many that I'd love to include!

Thanks again, ladies!

Now, for a Christmas card--I kind of forced myself to make this today--trying to get myself out of my slumpiness, so I'm not sure if I love it, but....I basically wanted to do this to use my new Martha Stewart snowy village edge punch--isn't it wonderful?!

Sorry the pictures aren't the best--we've been really gloomy here the last couple of days--no good sunlight! This beautiful Santa image is from Crafty Secrets' "Christmas" Images & Journal Notes booklet--love it!

I glittered up the tiny village with chunky Martha Stewart glitter, then diamond glitter, and a bit of German gold glass glitter on the edge, and apparently everywhere else! Glitter does have a mind of it's own, you know!

Moving on...are you hungry yet??? My kids wanted to take something sweet to their youth group at church tonight, so I did a very SIMPLE family favorite: Yummy Cherry Dessert!

This is from my mother-in-law, Shirley Campbell. She made a couple of family cookbooks a number of years ago, which I'm so grateful for! This is a favorite I fall back on time and time again, and it never disappoints! I've had people request it when they know they're coming over,'s good! Here's the recipe:


2 cans cherry pie filling

1 box white or yellow cake mix

1 stick butter, melted

So simple! Just pour the cherry pie filling in the bottom of a 9"x13" pan--I never need to grease it. Pour the cake mix on top of the cherries, making sure everything is covered nice and thick! Then, with a spoon, put the melted butter all over the cake mix, until there's a bit of buttery goodness just about everywhere! Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour.

That's it! I usually whip up some whipped cream for this--ice cream is wonderful, too! Enjoy!

Now to end with more Charlene of My Heart's Ease for so kindly and surprisingly featuring me on her blog tonight. Such nice things were said, and I was very touched...thank-you so much, Charlene! Her blog is another wonderful place to stop awhile and visit--always filled with beauty and sweetness. Go soon and say hello!

This crafting blog world is such a beautiful place! I have met so many generous-hearted, loving women over the last few months--I'm very grateful to you all for touching my life as you have. Thank-you, all!

I'm so thankful for the men and women who have served this country and given us the freedoms we enjoy today. Those that are fighting this very day, and those that have fought for us throughout all the past generations...we would not be who we are today if not for them and their service and sacrifice...Thank-you.

Last of all, I'm so thankful to God for this beautiful earth and the glorious sunset tonight--WOW! I'll just leave you with these images, and wish you all a good night and sweet dreams....and I'll see you all tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

White Texas Sheet Cake, a Holly Sprite, and a Pesky Pixie!

Good morning, everyone! Hope the day is going very well so far!

Sorry I didn't get my post done yesterday...a cold bug is trying very hard to bite me, and I'm trying very hard to fight it off! Feeling a bit dozy and wonky today!

Got a few things to share with you today--first off, another sweet Vintage Postcard image from Crafty Secrets, from the "Baby Boy" kit:

I'm not really thrilled with the photos I took of these--my lighting (and my head!) is a little off today, but here it is, anyway!

Love this detail shot--what a gorgeous image! All I did for this one was add my silver glitter, some crystal rhinestones, a little diamond glitter on the stork, and some pretty, gauzy orange ribbon. These kits make little gifts SO easy to make!

Next, I LOVE The Graphics Fairy! Karen is so creative and so generous with her free vintage images, which I of course adore! Last week she offered up some adorable vintage images of sweet little sprites--this one is a holly sprite--I love him! Here's what I did with him:

Not too happy with these photos either--oh, well! Isn't he cute?! The paper I used is from the new Graphic 45 "Christmas Past" collection--beautiful stuff! I cut out the little sprite and popped him up with dimensionals, and the Christmas greeting is from Crafty Secrets' sweet stamp set "Season's Greetings". A little gold glass glitter, Xmas Red Stickles, some rickrack & ribbon, and that's it!

You can just barely see the diamond glitter I put on him--looks better in real life, of course!

Now, how about some WHITE Texas Sheet Cake?! I've only had the chocolate version before, but just found this in my recently acquired Gooseberry Patch "All Through the Seasons" recipe book...and oh, my! It's just fabulous!

Can you see what I added to the top? A little edible glitter, of course! My girls laughed so hard--they think I can't do anything without glitter! (They may be right.....!)

This is SO good, and so easy to make! Here's the recipe:

White Texas Sheet Cake

1 cup butter

1 cup water

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. almond extract

Frosting (see below)

Bring butter and water to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, eggs, sour cream and almond extract until smooth. Pour into a greased 15"x10" baking pan (just a regular cookie sheet). Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Spread Frosting on cake. Serves 12.


1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup milk

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine butter and milk in a saucepan; cook over low heat until butter melts. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and almond extract; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until spreading consistency. Stir in walnuts.

(Originally sent in by Sandra Warren of Friendship, Ohio).

All the while I was making this sheet cake, I kept thinking about my wonderful Aunt Diana. She loves Texas Sheet Cake (in it's original chocolate form!), and I hardly remember a visit to her house when she didn't bake one for everyone.

She's been such a kind visitor to my little blog, and has made some lovely comments and shared some sweet memories with me, two of which are from when I was just a little pesky girl of 2 or 3 years old...I just happen to have pictures of these two remembrances, thanks to a kind auntie, who, instead of getting upset with her niece, decided to capture the moment on film instead...

She reminded me, a month or so ago, how I used to always go into her room, at my Grandma and Grandpa Smith's house, and get into all of her bracelets, putting all of them on my arms at once...

On another occasion, she tells of walking into her room (not too long after the other photo), and finding me on the floor of her room, covered in her scented powder...

Things haven't changed much, I guess--now I'm covered in glitter instead of powder! Thank-you, Aunt Diana, for your ever-loving kindness and reminding me of my silly early days! I love you!

Like I've said before...everything's connected in some way or another...I love when the past jumps into my present and I'm reminded that it's one long chain of events....

Hope your day is wonderful, and that you enjoy every moment! I'll be back tomorrow with something new...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Sweet Christmas Caroler....and Nature Girl!

Hope your Sunday has been lovely! We've had a nice, quiet day...Church then home all day--hardly even a phone call--perfect!

I've got a couple of cards to share with you today, and then I thought I'd tell you a little about my "day job"...not a typical job, I might add! Hope you don't mind me getting personal once in a while--we're all friends here, right?!

First off, another wonderful image courtesy of Every Thing Creative:

The "Merry Christmas" sentiment is from Pink Persimmon's "Little Christmas Cottage" stamp set--one of my favorites!

I'm really having fun with these beautiful digital images! They have a lovely selection of them--not many, but they're all just lovely--great quality! So easy putting this together--perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

I don't think it picked up well in the photo, but I printed the image twice, then cut out the lantern and popped it up on the card--I love a little dimension! A little glitter in the lantern, and that's about it! Isn't she sweet?!

Next, a darling little vintage image from Crafty Secrets' "Christmas" Creative Scraps--another quick one tonight--

The buttons at the top are very old from my husband's grandmother's stash--I'm lucky to have it and sometimes find just exactly what I need in her carefully kept little button boxes. Thanks, Grandma Gorrell!

For this card I used Graphic 45's beautiful new paper collection "Christmas Past". Just gorgeous stuff! Included in the paper pack are the two pieces at the bottom of my card--the calendar date and Santa's face. Lots of German gold glass glitter, a little diamond glitter in the fireplace (doesn't really show up here...) and some fun trim and we're done!

So, in my other life...the life that doesn't involve paper, beautiful stamps and tons of glitter, I work in our county park as a the spring, I--along with 3 other women--teach local school children about our native plants and animals, and the Ohlone Indians that lived here until the Spanish came and changed their way of life...I promise I'm not going to start a lecture!

We take the kids on a 45-minute hike through the woods, teach them about the plants, look for animal tracks, etc., and then in our classroom, filled with freeze-dried animals, including a mountain lion, golden eagle, turkey vulture, owls, etc., we teach them various classes on birds of prey, the food chain, etc.

In the fall, however--now--we go TO the schools to teach...take our show on the road, so to speak! Here's me on Friday in a 3rd grade classroom teaching about birds...

Wow--doesn't that little boy just look SO excited about what I'm teaching???

Getting a close-up look at our owls...

How do you like my glamorous naturalist uniform??? I always feel SO pretty! Love when I have to run errands right afterwards...!

Hawks, quail and blue jays...just a few of the poor birds that have to stay in the back of our cars during the fall--my girls don't love it too much!

Well, that's just a bit of my "other life"! Thanks for letting me share! I'll be back tomorrow with something glittery, and something VERY tasty!
Sweet dreams!