Saturday, October 16, 2010

You Take the Cake…and the Friendship Bread!

Good evening, dear friends!


How’s the weekend going?  We’ve had another busy, fun one…looking forward to a quiet Sunday…

Just a couple of things to share with you today.  I had to make this card just for fun, because, well, it’s fall…and when it starts to feel fallish, I start baking like crazy!


I love this image from Crafty Secrets’ “Homemade” Images & Journal Notes booklet…such a happy,  kitschy mamma cooking up a storm for her family!

A bit of Dazzling Diamonds for sparkle on the goodies, some lovely lace and rick-rack trim…a bit of framing with platinum Stickles, a button, and that’s about it!


Earlier in the week, I said I’d share our favorite Amish Friendship Bread recipe…so here we go!  (This will be a LONG recipe—lots of steps—but easy peasy!)




1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsps.)

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Stir together (using a non-metallic spoon) 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour and 1 cup milk in a non-metallic bowl or container.  Add yeast mixture and stir.  Cover; leave at room temperature.

Day 1:  Do nothing; it has been stirred.

Days 2, 3, and 4: Stir

Day 5: Add 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour…mix with non-metallic spoon.

Day 6, 7, 8 and 9:  Stir.

Day 10:  Add 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2cup flour and stir.  Remove 1 1/2cup to make your first bread; give 3 cups to friends along with the above directions, starting with Day 2, and the recipe for friendship bread.

You can either start the 10-day process again (starting with Day 2), or make your friendship bread from your 1-cup starter.  You can also freeze the starter in 1-cup measures for later use.  Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.



1.  Put the entire contents in a non-metallic bowl.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

3.  To remaining batter in bowl add:

3 eggs

1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups flour

1 large box of vanilla pudding

4. Grease 2 large loaf pans and in separate bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Dust the greased pans with half of this mixture.


5.  Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the top.

6.  Bake for one hour.  Cool until bread loosens from pan evenly (about 10 minutes).  Then out into cooling rack.  Serve warm or cold.


Lots of steps, but not hard to do at all!  My girls love this recipe, and take great joy in stirring it---or squishing it—every day.  (Can also keep the starter going in a large ziplock bag—just squishing the batter in the bag each day instead of stirring it in a bowl).

Here it is again with my homemade lemon curd on top—yum!


Give it a try!  So much fun to make and share—let me know how you like it!

Hope the rest of your weekend is wonderful…

Sweet Dreams!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010



Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul…” 

                  --Emily Dickinson

Good evening, dear friends!

Such a beautiful day today!  Definitely felt more like summer here on the central coast than fall….

This month, as we all know, we concentrate on Breast Cancer Awareness…all things pink and hopeful.  Celebrating brave women who fought it and survived…and remembering those who fought a very hard fight, and are no longer with us…there are a few in my family in both categories…

(I just realized while re-reading this that today, October 14th, is my Grandmother Smith’s birthday…the beautiful LaPriel I’ve told you about before…)


…she died far too young from this terrible disease.

LaPriel, Clayn, Karen & Julie, 1964

This is our little family…my Mom--Karen, Dad--Clayn (LaPriel’s son), and me…we just came in from a swim in Grandma’s backyard.  This was taken in 1964…not to long before she passed away.

Over at Splitcoast, they are also focusing on this important cause…and in the Crafty Secrets’ forum this week, the challenge is to make a card that expresses encouragement…

…here’s what I came up with:


A beautiful image from Crafty Secrets’ new “Little Blessings” Creative Scraps…not much more to say…a simple card with a wonderful message...

I love this sweet birdie, and as I worked on the card, I just heard over and over in my head the beginning lines from Emily Dickenson’s famous poem, “Hope”…

“Hope is the thing with feathers,

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune—without the words,

And never stops at all.”

bird 2

…which brought very strongly into my mind my mother, who has fought her own fight with cancer, and has won.

In 1992, my sweet mother was diagnosed with fairly advanced breast cancer, and was quickly scheduled for surgery.

She didn’t know if her body would be the same as she had always known it when she awoke after surgery…and it was not.

bird 1

She remembers very vividly laying in her hospital bed in a darkened room after the surgery…the anesthesia had worn off and the reality had set in….as well as the fear.

She was all alone in the room.  She wondered if she would ever be the same again.  What did the future hold?  Could she make it  through what lay ahead of her?  She was very afraid…

As she lay there, we were on our way down the hall to visit her, and were trying to explain to our three-year-old daughter, Chelsea, why her grandma was in the hospital…

hpqscan0001_edited-1 (Chelsea, just a couple of months after Mom’s mastectomy…and, very appropriately, in a pumpkin patch at Halloween time!)

…as we rounded the corner into her room, she said, in a loud, little child voice, “What’s wrong with my Grandma?!”


As soon as my Mother heard that, she heard a voice in her head say that her reaction at that very moment would make all the difference, and she turned over in the bed and said very strongly, and with a smile on her face…

“There’s NOTHING wrong with your Grandma!”

She said that was her turning point…the moment hope re-entered her life. 


Were there more scary moments?  Of course there were!  Still are…but hope and faith remain strong…


…now, 17 years later, my Mother is strong and healthy, though she still hates those twice-yearly exams! 

But she goes to them just the same, and still has a clean bill of health, which makes my father very happy…

Dad & Mom 3 2010

…and it makes all these people very happy, too…

The Whole Fan-damily! 1

“Hope is the thing with feathers”…

…and sometimes it’s brought into the room by a three-year-old girl…


“Hope is the thing with feathers,

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune—without the words,

And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.”

                                           --Emily Dickinson


I hope you have a most wonderful night…

Sweet dreams.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Need a Little Lift?


Good afternoon, my friends!

Back from a busy birthday weekend celebrating Grandma’s 80th birthday…lots to catch up on!

I have just a couple of things to share with you today…then off to my two daughters’ back-to-back field hockey games.

With so much Halloween & holiday-themed cards coming up, I had a wish for something a little lighter today…a LOT lighter, in fact!


A card based on one incredibly beautiful piece of paper by Webster’s Pages…I fell in love with this at first sight!


I had two pieces of this paper…used one for the background, and cut out the hot-air balloons with the other…then popped them up, of course!


Bits of sparkle here & there were made with Dazzling Diamonds…some framing with platinum Stickles, lace, ribbon, and that’s about it!

This reminded me of some photos a friend of mine shared this week of a hot-air balloon festival in New Mexico…

balloons 1

…aren’t they beautiful?!

balloons 2_edited-1

Talk about an “uplifting” experience…!

Now for the next...


…one of my favorite stamp designers…Hope Wallace Karney has a beautiful collection of original art stamp sets that you can see here

…”A penny for your thoughts”…carried by the beautiful bluebird…


A bit of glassy glaze & Dazzling Diamonds on the penny…platinum Stickles frames different areas of the card,  some beautiful Graphic 45 patterned paper, lace, ribbon, and some sweet creamy yellow buttons, and we’re all done!

Still need a bit of a lift? 

How about some homemade lemon curd?!


After making the Lemon Curd Bars last week using purchased lemon curd, I decided to try my hand at homemade today….and the results were delicious!


Here it sits…an extra large dollop of warm, golden lemon curd on a fresh slice of homemade Amish Friendship Bread…(I’ll post that recipe next time!)


Tart, tangy & VERY creamy…perfection!

Here’s the recipe I used today…


1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel

6 tablespoons lemon juice (3 whole lemon’s worth for me…)

6 tablespoons water

6 egg yolks, slightly beaten

1/2 cup butter, cut up

In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar and cornstarch.  Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice, and the water.   Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. 

Stir half of the lemon mixture into beaten egg yolks.  Return egg mixture to the saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a gently boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter until it melts. 

Cover with plastic wrap.  Chill for at least 1 hour.  Makes 2 cups.  Place the prepared curd in an airtight container; cover.  Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

{recipe courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens}


Give it a try!  It was absolutely easy-peasy, lemon squeezy (literally!) …and it definitely gave me a lift today!

Hope your day is wonderful, and I’ll see you soon with something new…