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!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not What I Imagined...Vintage Aprons, and a Little Advice...

Good afternoon, everyone!

It's a beautiful day today--the sun is peeking through the clouds, it's still overcast, but it's not raining right now...easier to get the errands done!

My husband called me this morning after he left for work & said, "Quick! Grab your camera and look out in the backyard!" I wondered what on earth he could be so excited about, but did as he asked, and saw the most glorious sunrise! Of course, the camera (mine, anyway!) never could capture it properly, but here's what I saw through my kitchen door:

Lots of vintage fun to share today!

First off, I'll show you some cards I've been working on the last few days--busy days lately, so sometimes it takes a while! These are all images from Crafty Secrets--they have so much wonderful stuff to work with!

Apparently, I've been in a housewifely mood lately, because here's what I've done:

This image is from the "Domestic Goddess" Creative Scraps. The paper I used here was SU! Soft Sky, Pink Pirouette (both retired), and PTI True Black--love it's thickness! Of course, a liberal serving of my silver glitter was needed, and topped it off with some lace, a little black grosgrain & a silver button.

This one just cracks me up! This is pretty much how I feel whenever I ATTEMPT to can anything--doesn't happen very often in THIS house, I can tell you! Love her face, don't you? This is from Crafty Secrets' new "Kitchen Mail" Vintage Postcard Kit. I used Real Red, Summer Sun, PTI White, and June Bug's "Vintage Plaid" here. A little strip of Battenburg lace some Real Red grosgrain, a darling little plaid grosgain I found at Michaels ($1 a spool--YES!)
and some buttons. Oh, yes, and the silver glitter. I'm afraid I'm going to be using it in my next card, as well...prepare yourselves!

This image is perhaps my favorite! I love the look on her face and her little thought bubble "This isn't what I imagined!" Perfect! This image is also from the new "Kitchen Mail", and I used 2 Crafty Secrets' stamp sets--"Little Chef" for the mixing bowl used as the background (hard to see really well--an attempt made for a challenge on Splitcoast to use any resist technique--I'm not very experienced with this, but I tried!). Also, the "Party Girl" set for the thought bubble and sentiment.

Here's a close-up of her face:

All these vintage images reminded me of my long-time love of vintage aprons--love them, but can't find any of mine! (Must still be in boxes in the garage--dang!) I have also wanted to make some for a while--so many great patterns out there right now and fabulous vintage-inspired fabric (I actually have a lot of this squirreled away...time to use it!) I've decided to make some for gifts for Christmas this year so I'll show some when I'm done. This kind of commits me, doesn't it? If you're someone I give gifts to at Christmas, please don't read this paragraph, okay?

I bought a wonderful book a couple of years ago called "The Apron Book", by EllynAnne Geisel. Oh, what a treat to look through! Filled with great images, ideas, etc. Today, I also found that she has a website and a blog--you've gotta go see what she does! It's called Apron Memories. Trust me, you'll love it!

I also love the apron motif that The Farm Chicks use on their blog--Serena has a really cute one on in her profile photo!

One more thing to leave you with...a little advice.

When I was at my Mom's a couple of months ago, I was going through some of her old cookbooks and making LOTS of copies. I found a cute little book she was given at her bridal shower that was thrown by her grandmother, my great-grandmother Estella Stapley. Inside the book were notbook pages filled with handwritten recipes by the guests--and the best part--advice for the bride! So, here's a bit of newlywed advice fresh from 1960--doesn't get much better than this!

"Make each day the most important day in your life and enjoy it! Keep a delightful sense of humor."

"Don't!!!!!!!! Unless, of course, you want to!

"Share your problems together as well as your joys."

"Never go to bed or end a day until you have forgiven each other for misunderstandings."

"A sense of humor is a priceless ingredient in a happy marriage."

My mother's mother said: "Always listen to your mother's advice. Consider it well, what YOU think is right."

The last one I'll leave with you is from my other sweet, tiny great-grandmother, Anna Ostlund, who said, "Karen darling, take good care of Clayn but don't spoil him."

Good advice, indeed!

Clayn and Karen Smith, my wonderful parents, on their wedding day in 1960.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Blustery Day, Some Warm Fuzzies, and an Illuminated Christmas......

Good morning!

Well, it is BLUSTERY here on the central coast! I love it! We don't get "weather" very often here, so our family loves gloomy, rainy, windy days! So exciting--turning on the fire, candles warm & glowing....ahhhhh! Too bad I'm the only one who gets to enjoy it at home today! My husband is at work & the girls are at school...poor things, think I'll make them some cookies!

Something a little different today. I wanted to share something else I love with you---warm, snuggly, fuzzy, nubby, fabulous YARN! I love this stuff! The woolier, nubbier, & more textured the better!

Last year, I started making these scarves with huge knitting needles, and I adore them--can't stop making them! I have them hanging on a wall rack in my entry way, and when people love them, I just give them one! It's fun to see how surprised they are when I do that! They've also been great to have on hand for gifts--even my girls' friends love getting them. So it's just a win-win situation--I LOVE making them, and people like to get them--not bad!

I was just asked to take part in a Holiday Boutique type of thing next month, where I'll be selling some boards I've made with my vinyl lettering business (not a huge business, mind you!), perhaps some of my vintage-style cards, and my scarves. Should be fun! So, I'm pulling out the knitting needles again & working on more! Thought I'd share some with you--just look at all the gorgeous color & texture!

I love mixing 3-5 types of yarn into each scarf--variation is important to them looking good, I think. And those who know me, know that I have to throw a LITTLE bit of sparkle into each one!

I just jumbled a bunch of them together in different color groups. Here we go:

I'm working on a fabulous black one today--thick, soft & nubby! Think I'll turn on one of my favorite Jane Austen movies, sit by the fire & knit today...sounds wonderful!

But before I go, here's a Christmas card to share with you. I did the Color Challenge on SCS this morning. I don't think I've EVER put these colors together--a real stretch for me! As I looked for an image to use with them, this one just felt right.

I love the beautiful, illuminated Medieval manuscripts, and this reminded me of something like that--tried to give it that feel with the rich colors and all the German glass glitter. The image I used is from Crafty Secrets' "Christmas" Images & Journal Notes booklet. The cs--Chocolate Chip, Taken With Teal, and Apricot Appeal. Added some deep chocolatey lace, ChocoChip satin ribbon and Apricot Appeal grosgrain, topped off with a pretty, old button.

Have a wonderful day, whatever your weather!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloween Masquerade

Good morning, all! It's really cool here on the coast today, but at least it's not snowing like it is where some of you live! We're supposed to get some rain tonight, which we really need. That's very exciting for us--that's about the extent of our extreme weather!

I made a couple of Halloween cards yesterday evening. Just realized I've hardly posted any Halloween stuff at all this whole month! Did it all last month, I guess...well, here's some more. I'm sure I'll get a few more done before the month is over!

This adorable image is from Crafty Secrets' "Halloween" Images & Journal Notes--such a fun booklet to use! I used Basic Black, Pumpkin Pie, PTI Vintage Cream & DCWV "La Creme" dp for the card, added ribbon, black rick-rack trim and some gold glass glitter. The image made me think to make a mask, which I just drew freehand & cut out--pretty easy!

For this card, I also used the "Halloween" booklet, used the same papers (they were still right there...!), and used silver glitter this time. I noticed on another page in the image booklet was a border of the same pumpkin head used in my main image, so I just cut them out, popped them up & used them on the bottom border of the card.

That's all for now...tomorrow I've got something different to share--no cards this time--a little break for you! Have a marvellous autumn day!