Like the birds, I’m getting ready for winter!


Now that summer has faded, I am thinking ahead and doing some preparation for our winter holiday season. It may seem early but it takes time to do anything well and I like to do holidays in a big way. I get great pleasure from giving my time and talent to making people happy. Generosity is not my only motivation- the act of giving serves me as much as anyone to whom I give.

I buy lots of items as gifts for friends and family especially for Christmas. I try to purchase things throughout the year in order to save money. If I find a gift worthy item in July then I buy it and hide it. Of course the trick is remembering where I put it when it comes time to wrap gifts in December!

Another aspect of gift giving that I truly enjoy is the making or embellishment of items so that they have a personal touch. This is a way to express my creativity and to personalize the gifts. Over the years many of my gift recipients have told me that I should sell what I make. Well, I don’t have a storefront but I do make some items available for purchase at this web address. Right now I offer gift baskets, special occasion bears, and embellished items for gift giving. I share this site with my family so my husband’s photos, cards, and calendars and my daughter’s hand made jewelry are also available.

So take some time to savor the season and show your crafty side too. If you are not so handy there are people like me from whom you can buy creative gifts.

Fall is a busy time for me and I’m sure that’s true for you also but like the birds- I’m getting ready!



A nap would feel good about now…


It’s time to come in and get busy with Autumn and Winter projects. I wanted to take a nap like my cat Jasper, but I decided to make some curtains for my living room instead.  Jasper doesn’t know it but I am rearranging the furniture too.

Sewing is not my strength but I have reupholstered furniture, repaired clothing and completed simple things. I found some fantastic fabric on sale and will use it for the curtains. I will post photos of them later this week. Wish me luck! 

The Fall Crawl continues  today with a visit to . Enjoy!


Feeding your body and soul




I said that I have moved on and I mean it. Summer is over and it is on for the fall!  The grill will not be used this week. I am back to cooking indoors. I truly enjoy the process of cooking. Picking the food items and even the pots and pans in which the items will be cooked is interesting to me. I am sure that preparing the meal does more for me than it does for those whom I will serve. No matter how simple or complicated the meal is the results are the same for me: sensory stimulation, focus, creativity, solitude, and the gift of giving.

The Fall Crawl is providing me with an opportunity to share some of my creativity with you. Today I choose a recipe for beef stew that my family and I enjoy. The best part of this recipe is the flexibility of it. Exact measurements are not necessary for most of the items because you tailor it to your taste. It’s one of my go-to meals when I have a lot of odds and ends in the fridge. As long as you have the key ingredients you can add what you have on hand.

You will need the following items:

*Beef chuck cut into medium sized cubes 1 lb
*potatoes 4 large
carrots 1 large
sweet peppers
peas 1 cup
*olive oil
white wine (drinking quality) ½ cup
*flour 2 tb
*beef stock
(key ingredient*)

Peel potatoes then chop into bite size chunks. Boil until just soft or about 10 minutes. They will get softer in the pot in the oven but I like them cooked some before then. I like to peel slivers of carrot because I  don’t like big chunks. If you like big then go big! Roughly chop or dice other  vegetables. Saute the onions, peppers, celery and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil in a non stick pan.  Add mushrooms and tomatoes to pan once other vegetables are soft.

Place flour in plastic bag. Add salt, pepper, and combination of spices and herbs that are normally in a mix like Sylvia’s secret seasoning. That’s usually a combination of basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and garlic.  Place meat in bag and coat pieces. In a fresh pan, brown the meat in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Leave in pan. Drain potatoes.

Place drained potatoes, meat, sauted veggies, 2 cups of beef broth, peas, and wine in dutch oven or heavy pan. Cook together on top of stove for about 10 minutes. Add a little more spice to pot, stir and then place in 35o degree oven for at least 45 minutes. Check every 15 or 20 minutes to see if it is the consistency that you like. You should end up with a pot of yummy goodness. Let me know how it turns out!

Some people throw everything into a crock pot and that seems to work for them. I didn’t do that here. I used the stove top first and then baked the stew in a covered pot because as the child of southerners, I like meat that is so tender it falls apart. I achieve that tenderness using this method.You’ll note the red dutch oven that I use, it may not be necessary (any heavy pot will work) but it sure makes me happy!




Summer left but the Fall Crawl is on the way!

Now that my busy summer has come to a close, I want to get a head start on my winter crafts. I often make food items, crafts and gifts for friends and I want to share some of them with you. I also create items for sale and will share those as well. I’ll post photos as I go and some of you may see your birthday or Christmas gift long before those special dates. 

Right now I have a wonderful gift to share with you and that is the Fall Crawl! One of our most talented and beautiful friends, Marilyn, of the Artsygirl Connection, has created this web event to help highlight her work and that of many of her friends (like us!). Please check her out and the rest of the great people who have so much talent to share with you. These are tough financial times but participating in the Fall Crawl is free. Enjoy!!