Friday, October 16, 2009

Put a Little Sparkle in Every Day...and True Blue Scottish Shortbread

Good morning!

Hope the day's going well for everyone. Just to start off, I'm sorry to complain, but I just have to share the weather we have to endure here in October--now brace yourselves...

When I drove up to the house after taking my girls to school this morning, my gazing ball was just GLOWING with sunlight! Had to run right out (after semi-carefully parking the car!) with my camera...

I am in LOVE with big, fat, cabbagey David Austen English roses. I have over 100 bushes in my yard...way too many, but I love each & every one! Look at the coloring on these little beauties!

I love figs...they taste great and all, but I LOVE the trees...the shape of the fruit, the shape of the leaves...I find them SO interesting! (Sorry about my big shadow on the right!)

A sincere apology to all of you back East, but........................!

Someone asked me the other day why I like glitter so much...I don't know--I just do! It feels very vintage to me, and it just makes me happy--that's it! As I thought about what I would be posting today, I thought of one of my favorite sayings...

A few years ago, a church friend of ours passed away after a battle with cancer. At her funeral, her husband spoke very lovingly of his wife and their life together. Towards the end, he said, "Put a little sparkle in every day!", after reminding us that life is short, but wonderful. I jotted it down in my little notebook in my purse so I wouldn't forget it--it really touched me.

So, maybe that's part of the reason I like to add a little sparkle to things--life's too short not to, in my book!

(I made this vinyl sign for my daughter's room shortly after that day.)

Speaking of sparkle, check these out!

Okay, it's not all sparkle, but look at the flakey, buttery goodness!

A certain magic occurs when you mix three simple ingredients; butter, sugar and flour...and it's name is SHORTBREAD! I've always loved Scottish Shortbread, and my Mom used to make it every Christmas, as do I. Sometimes you've just gotta have it, though, and today was that day!

When I was a girl--maybe 12 or so--a very kind woman we knew, Joan Montgomery, knowing of my love for Shortbread, invited me to her house and taught me how to make this recipe. It was given to her by an old Scottish woman--I wish I had her name, but I don't. The only admonition I was given was to NEVER bake these on a rainy day. I don't remember why not, but guess I what I have an incurable urge to do every time it rains???

Here's the recipe:


Cream 1 lb. butter-NO margarine and
1 cup sugar
Work in 4 cups flour

Mix till well combined, but don't overmix. Put dough into a 9x 13" pan, no greasing required, pressing until about 2" high. Chill at least 1/2 hour. Bake at 325 for 25-35 minutes. Never bake these on a rainy day! Cool and cool on brown paper bags.

That's it--you will love them forever!

My Mom always put a little shiny dragee in the center of each cookie, which I also like to do--there's the sparkle!

Lastly, tomorrow is my wonderful Mother-in-Law's birthday, and she's coming to spend the weekend with us. I've got some yummy meals planned, a delicious-looking cake to bake (I'll share tomorrow or Sunday), and I made a card for her today:

I got a little heavy-handed with my sponging here on the sentiment...oh, well! It's a quote from Lucille Ball that says, "The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."

The image is from Crafty Secrets' "Girlfriends" Images & Journal Notes booklet. I used Basic Black, Certainly Celery, Groovy Guava & PTI White cardstock, and of course, my silver sparkles!

Here's an adorable photo of my Mother-in-Law, Shirley Campbell. Okay, this was a taken a LITTLE while ago, but it's very vintage, I love it, and she reminds me of Shirley Temple!

See you soon!


  1. LOL...I think we're sisters under the glitter and shortbread! Two of my favs! (Thanks for the recipe - going to copy that one down!)

    Love your beautiful pictures of your wonderful fall. We went right to snow and cold weather. :D



  3. It's my first visit to you blog, a lovely post, I will remember to use a little glitter every day now, I love shortbread, this looks to be a great recipe!

    Jill (in UK)x

  4. Well said my friend!!! I always enjoy stopping by your blog! You do a wonderful job of sharing family treasures, recipes, and today really good advice! YOU are the added sparkle for me today ... thanks for your friendship!!

  5. I love David Austen roses too...they are fairly hardy in our planting zone here in Illinois. My favorite is Fair Bianca...I can not have too many of those and they smell divine.

    I see that Jill stopped by to say hello. She is a dear friend from the UK and I am assuming she found you on the feature I did on you last glad!

  6. Sparkle, David Austin Roses, shortbread AND a fab card all in one post? You are too much, my friend! Love it! Love it ALL!! I'm moving to CA so we can hang out!

  7. Just checked the forecast for Western Pa, and it's supposed to be partly sunny today - so it'll be shortbread and tea for our Sunday afternoon snack! Thanks for a post full of sparkle, as always, Julie!

  8. Hi Julie -- just found your Blog link in the comment you left -- yes, it's YOU!!! LOL!!! What an enjoyable post this was to read!!! And your cookies look and sound yummy!!! Glad I found your blog!!!!

  9. Oh Julie, your roses are stunning! I wish we still had flowers but it's already getting cold here.
    I am not a great baker but I'm going to have to try your shortbread recipe, they look fantastic!
    Cerri xoxo

  10. I am so jealous of your perfect California weather! And your Roses are gorgeous! I can't even grown roses where I live. Your card is so lovely also! And I love the childhood pic of your mother-in-law. How precious.

  11. Hi Julie

    So pleased someone has good weather and your garden looks fabulous. We do have a loveley garden, two whole acres of it, but this time of year there is not much beyond leaves and the odd rose here and there that has not been bitten by the frost.

    And could not agree more about glitter - I thought it was what made the world go round !

    B x