Friday, December 4, 2009

Feed your faith and your doubt will starve.

- Author Unknown

Looking forward to a little snow tonight and tomorrow! It will really put me in the mood to decorate our home for Christmas!

....Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we've no place to go let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! ;)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." -Helen Keller


Monday, November 9, 2009

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.”
~ Albert Einstein


Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thursday, October 22, 2009

"The doors of opportunity are opening around us all the time. You have to have the vision to see what is possible on the other side and the courage to walk through them. You never know what opportunities for greatness are waiting for you."

~ Erin Prais-Hintz

Hope you enjoy this inspiring poem and all these different views from around one gorgeous yellow maple tree residing in our front yard!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Here are some beautiful flowers from my "beading garden" for you to enjoy!

Petite Pinks
Orange Blossoms

Black Lily


Monday, October 12, 2009

Thought for the day!

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

~Mother Theresa


Thursday, October 1, 2009

From My Kitchen to Yours

With the return of fall and it cooler temperatures, in the kitchen my thoughts turn to my favorite comfort food recipes! Soups, pot-roasts and stews become the delicious staples for our fall and winter meals!

Many years ago I received a copy of a recipe with a yummy cheese potato soup on it! Over the years, I have added different spices and ingredients until it has evolved into the following recipe:

Cheesy Potato Soup

2 cans of chicken broth
4 c. potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 c. onion chopped
1/2 c. carrots peeled and diced
1/2 c. celery diced
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. parsley
one small clove of garlic peeled and minced
1 c. milk
1c. shredded cheddar cheese plus extra for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Pour the chicken broth into a large pan and add prepared potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, sage and garlic to the broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Put half of the cooked vegetables into a food processor and blend until smooth. Please be sure to use caution while processing the hot vegetables! Return these to the pot and add the milk and cheese. Simmer for one minute, stirring constantly. Ladle hot soup into serving bowls and garnish with additional cheddar cheese. Serves four.

Special Note: for a smoother soup, put all the cooked veggies into the food processor and blend. For a chunky soup use a potato masher.

Happy fall, y'all!



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

Albert Einstein

(I choose the latter! ;)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From My Kitchen
to Yours!

Old Fashioned Banana Bread

1/2 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. bananas mashed (2 very ripe medium sized bananas usually makes one cup)
1 T. lemon juice
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together vegetable oil and sugar in large bowl.
Mash bananas with a fork and stir in lemon juice.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
Alternate mixing a third of the flour and bananas into the sugar and oil mixture, and stir until just combined. Pour into an un-greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

This wonderful old recipe is a family favorite! It is very easy to make and delicious too! Recently, I tried making this with whole-wheat flour and it just didn't have the light, delicate texture I love. Whole-wheat flour is much too dense for the amount of leaving in this recipe, so I will recommend using white flour for the best results.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees takes off his shoes.

~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~ Albert Camus

Monday, September 14, 2009

Make Your Own
Household Cleaners!

With the economy as it is, everyone is looking for ways to save a little money these days! Here a few recipes to make your own household cleaners with everyday ingredients you already have around the house! They are less expensive than commercially made cleaners, and most are environmentally friendly!

All-Purpose Cleaner

Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of water, put into a spray bottle. Use this for cleaning non-wood, hard surfaces, and tile.

Wood-Furniture Polish

Mix 1 cup of olive oil with ½ cup of lemon juice. Rub a small amount on wood with a soft cloth to polish wood. Store in sealed container.


6 teaspoons light olive oil
3 cups distilled white vinegar

Pour the oil and vinegar into a 1-quart spray bottle. Blend well.
Spray the cleaner onto wood, wipe over with a damp cloth, and finish drying with a clean, lint-free cloth.
(Note: Use this cleaner only on sealed wood.)

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Fill a spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar.

Tub/Sink Cleaner

Use baking soda as a scouring powder. Add a little bit of water to some baking soda to form a paste. Paint the paste onto the area you need to clean, and let sit for a half hour, then scrub it off, and re-scour with dry baking soda.

Glass/Mirror Cleaner

Mix together 1 cup of rubbing alcohol
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of white vinegar

Pour into a spray bottle


Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water. Pour mixture into a spray bottle (I use old pump hairspray bottles).
Note: I use old newspapers instead of paper towels to wash my windows for a streak free shine!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Deep Roots

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

- J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, August 24, 2009

Crystal Couture

Simple elegance for an evening out on the town, these versatile quartz crystal earrings will become a staple in your jewelry wardrobe! Quartz crystals are a wonderfully neutral stone that will go with many outfits and many styles. Yet, despite the fact that they are clear, the abundance of facets on these stones really sparkle, reflecting rainbows of light and drawing attention to the earrings!

Beginning with two different gauges of sterling silver wire, I used a torch to turn the wire into handmade ball headpins, which became the dangles and earwires. I added three quartz crystal rondelles to each headpin and wrapped the headpin in a closed loop to keep them securely on the earwire!

The Crystal Couture earrings are a petite 1-1/4 inches in length from the top of the earwire to the bottom of the dangle; the dangle itself is jut 3/4 of an inch long. Look for these lovelies on my website very soon!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Double Hearts Ring

Just a few weeks ago Corra Liew, of de Cor's Handmade shared this free twin hearts ring tutorial on her blog! Since hearts have a special meaning to me and I loved the look of this sweet little ring, I just had to try making one!

Corra put lots of clear pictures of each step in constructing the ring and the written instructions were easy to follow too! After just a few practices with copper wire (which is strongly recommend!), I was confidently making rings with my good sterling silver wire!

One thing I will stress, use 18 gauge dead soft wire as is listed in the instructions, it does make a big difference in the construction of this ring! The final picture below became a heart with a swirl in the center because the half hard wire I was using became brittle and broke when bending the last loop in the second heart! But that ring is what I call one of my "happy accidents"!

In closing, I will add a little tip from me! If you do not have dead soft sterling silver wire, try annealing it with a torch, quenching it in a cup of water and cleaning off any fire scale with very fine steel wool. Your sterling silver wire will become very malleable which is much easier to work with! Please be sure to use all proper safety precautions and use the appropriate tools to anneal any metal!


Friday, August 14, 2009

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.

Charles R. Swindoll

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Zucchini Brownies
A very decadent and
delicious dessert!

Do you have children or a husband who won't eat their vegetables no matter how much you plead? Then try this delicious zucchini brownie recipe! It's a wonderful way to give them a serving of veggies and use up some of that abundance of zucchini squash from your garden! I promise, if they don't see you make them, they will never know that zucchini is lurking within this yummy treat! So get out your food processor and start shredding your abundance of zucchini!

Zucchini Brownies

2 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

2 c. shredded zucchini
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. pecans (optional)

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, soda and salt. In another bowl, combine shredded zucchini, sugar, and oil. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Creamy Brownie Frosting

3 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons milk

Beat butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and milk, beat to spreading consistency. Makes about 1 cup frosting.



Monday, August 10, 2009

Freedom Purchased
at a Great Cost

The following was read on the Neal Boortz Show on August 7, 2009 and wanted I to pass it on to you. It is an email from a Delta Airlines pilot who flew a fallen soldier and his family home to Virginia. Just a word of warning, you will need tissues (and if you don't you need to check your heart to see if it's still beating)!


My lead flight attendant came to me and said, 'We have an H.R. on this flight.' H.R. stands for human remains. 'Are they military?' I asked. 'Yes', she said. 'Is there an escort?' I asked. 'Yes, I already assigned him a seat.' 'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early', I said.

A short while later, a young Army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us. My soldier is on his way back to Virginia', he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words on his own. I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.

We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', he said. He then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia. The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendant's voice when he asked me if there was anything I could do. 'I'm on it', I said. I told him that I would get back to him.

Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had onboard with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and this following is the text:

'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and planeside to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks

I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.' Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us. 'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His name is private XXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft. When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one. Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier

I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of America.


We are blessed with great freedom in this country, freedom that was purchased with the lives of many people! Please remember the sacrifice that each of our fallen military men and women have made and their families as well. And the next time you see someone in a military uniform, thank him or her for their service to our great country!



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Elegantly yours.....