Friday, October 1, 2010

Friends and Cookies

Good afternoon, dear friends!

The first day of October….aaaaaaahhhhh!  My favorite time of the year…I love the fall and all it brings…such a beautiful time filled with holidays, cozy, candlelit homes, friends & family.

Just a few things to share with you today…

I made a couple of cards yesterday just to have on hand when needed…you never know when a friend might need a little something, do you?



I love this beautiful collage image from Crafty Secrets’ new “Little Blessings” Creative Scraps…

Little Blessings

…so many sweet & inspirational images in this set…


…and look at this gorgeous vintage button that was in a collection I bought a while back…such gorgeous detail!



Another image from the “Little Blessings” Creative Scraps…this one reminded me so much of cards and images I had in books when I was a little girl…so sweet!


…just a touch of sparkle on water and roses with Dazzling Diamonds…a bit of framing with platinum Stickles…some lace, ribbon and paper roses…I love to deepen their color & glitz them up with a little “Cherub Pink” Glimmer Mist…

Now, when a friend needs cheering up, what better to take along with a card than some amazing cookies???  These are just the ones to do the trick, my friends—perfect for the first day of Autumn!


Soft Maple Sugar Cookies!  Oh, my!  These were gone in a flash, I have to tell you!  We love real maple at our house, and these couldn’t have been more mapley delicious!

Here’s the recipe, found in the new Better Homes and Gardens “Christmas Cookies” magazine—I wait for this so very excitedly each & every year"!


Soft Maple Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (no Aunt Jemima stuff, now!  Only the real thing, ladies!  Also—I added a bit more—wanted to be sure it was good and mapley!)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cream of tartar

1/8 tsp. salt

3 egg yolks

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 3/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine butter and shortening.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.  Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Shape dough in to 1-inch balls.  Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes (I did 12) or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes (they’re super soft right out of the oven!) Transfer to a wire rack; cool.  (Centers will dip as cookies cool.)  Drizzle with Maple Icing.  Makes about 48 cookies.


Maple Icing

In a medium bowl, stir together 1/4 cup whipping cream or milk, 1/4 cup melted butter, and 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup.  Whisk in 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar to make an icing of drizzling consistency.


Well, that’s it for me today…off to finish working on my family album, which I’ll share next time…

Happy Fall!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tell Your Story…..

Good evening, my friends! 


I thought I’d get here much earlier than this today, but you know how it goes…!

Before I start, I get to tell you that the winner of my blog anniversary giveaway (chosen by Random Number Generator) is…


So, if you could please send me an email with your address  at:

I’ll send your prize right out to you!  Congratulations, Beth!


Anna Ostlund reading by window_edited-1

Some people are just born with a story in their heart…such was the case with my great-grandmother, Anna.

Born in 1882 in a small, western town of Swiss immigrant parents, she watched, learned, and kept many, many stories close to her heart…

Anna Meier Brandley young_edited-1

When a girl of only 16, she left with her father and other siblings for Canada.  Her mother had passed away a few years previously, and her father had been asked to go up to Alberta to help build the new canals and settle the area…

Oh, the stories she tells of that adventure!

She later met and married a handsome son of Swedish immigrants, Hjaldermar Ostlund…


…and they had five children, their first three were all daughters…


…just about my favorite photo of sisters that I’ve ever seen in my life…next to my three daughters…This was taken in 1911, just a year before my grandfather—their first son—was born.

Anna spent her widowed years writing…telling her mothers’ story, then her father’s, then her husband’s and her own…

Olympia typewriter

…almost always on a typewriter using  the delightful old Olympia script that has become so dear to me…


I have folder upon folder of her papers in my collection (as does my mother), of her writings.  Some are the same story, typed all over again, very lovingly and painstakingly on that wonderful old, thin onionskin paper…sometimes with added details…no photocopying for Anna…all done page by page…


….telling the stories of those she loved that were no longer here to tell their own..

Even dearer and more beautiful to me are the few pages in her own handwriting…


Another page in my family album completed…Anna Tells Her Story…


Once, again I used a beautiful image from Crafty Secrets’ new “Vintage Photos” Creative Scraps, the fabulous old typewriter is from Crafty Secrets’ “Office 101” stamp set…


…my background is a bit of Anna’s typewritten story (scanned copy, of course!), on top of some beautiful Graphic 45 paper, some ribbon, lace, a VERY old metal vintage button, some typed sentiments—in the old Olympia font, of course!…and the usual sparkly stuff…


An amazing woman with an amazing story to tell…more stories for other days…

As I read and sort through her papers, I feel her urging me to write my own…but first, I tell of others that led me to my own story.

An incredible sunset last night—almost unreal in it’s color and intensity…


“Hurry outside!”, my daughter Sarah called to us, as she was out feeding the dogs…”it will be gone in a minute!”  


…and it was…we caught it just in time.

Tell your story.


p.s.  Please hurry over and visit the glorious Debi of “Life in My Studio” …she’s sharing some of her fabulous stash with a lucky winner!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Good Friends are for Keeps…


Good afternoon, my friends!

I hope your weekend was wonderful—the first weekend of fall—can you believe it?!

I’ve been continuing my little family chipboard album I started last week…can’t tell you how much fun I’m having with this!

It’s a Maya Road large tag-shaped album that Crafty Secrets is now selling…and I love it!

Here’s what I worked on this weekend…


This is the cover for my album…I love this beautiful vintage image from Crafty Secrets’ new “Vintage Photos” Creative Scraps—just gorgeous!

I just layered a couple of beautiful papers from Graphic 45, distressed the edges with Tea Dye and Vintage Photo Distress Inks, vintage mother-of-pearl buttons, a bit of sparkle, of course…


…some lovely paper flowers…they were a light pink already, and I spritzed them with a bit of “Cherub Pink” Glimmer Mist, which made them fabulous!

Next:  My grandmother Pauline and an enormous fish…


This one makes me very happy!  I have lots of old family photos, as you know, and Sandy (owner of Crafty Secrets’) liked this one so much, she wanted to include it in the new “Vintage Photos” Creative Scraps!


Back in 1908, my grandmother—still a single girl of 20—went by train from Northern Arizona to the coast of California with her mother, Ida, who was having lots of health problems….

While there, they stayed with relatives, and on her mother’s good days, Pauline felt free to spend time at the ocean…she loved the spray of the waves, the feel of the sand…so different than her high desert home!

It was while there that this wonderful, staged photo was taken…such a common thing to do in those days…Tourist spots would often have “sets” ready made that you would just step into and have your photo taken.

I included her handwritten description of where and when the photo was taken on my page…


…I also added some “sand” (clear, chunky German glass glitter), shells and pearls at the bottom…


…and covered the whole page with both “Iridescent Gold” and “Gold” Glimmer Mist.

Next: Good Friends…


Pauline was a school teacher in a small school in her little Arizona town…teaching drama in the same school was her very good friend, Mary West…

Don F. & Mary West Riggs

Here’s a very newly married Mary and her husband, Don F. Riggs.  I don’t have a single, young photo of Mary, so this was as close as I could get…

Pauline Udall about 18 years old_edited

…and Pauline, about the same time…


They stayed wonderful friends all through the years, no matter where life took them.  Interestingly, their families both ended up in that same small town of Snowflake, Arizona later in life…


…they lived very near each other, and spent much time together, along with their families. 

The photo of the two women in my project is  another photo of mine that Sandy wanted to include in Crafty Secrets’ Creative Scraps…this one is in the new “Girlfriends” set…the photo is of Mary and Pauline, sharing a taste of a new recipe, perhaps, on the steps of Pauline’s house.

The two friends dreamed that one day, Pauline’s oldest boy, Rudger, and Mary’s oldest girl, LaPriel, would fall in love and marry, uniting their families…

[Rud & LaPriel[4].jpg]

…which they did…in 1934…a dream come true for two good friends.

Here they are again in the early 1940’s…two friends (along with their husbands) united as grandmothers of these two little boys…my father, Clayn, on the right, and his older brother, Grant.

Clayn & Grant with their Smith & Riggs grandparents

These two dear friends stayed very close to each other throughout their lives.  I was able to get to know them both when I was a little girl before they passed away…Mary first, in 1967, and Pauline followed, less than a year later in 1968…friends to the end…

Mary West Riggs

Pauline U. Smith


I hope the rest of your day is just wonderful…enjoy time with your family and friends…and who knows?  They could be one and the same one day…

I’ll be back Wednesday with something new…and with the winner of my anniversary giveaway!

See you then!