Saturday, October 30, 2010


So pleasant and warm and cozy and quiet beside the fireplace right this minute . . . life has been . . . well, life . . . so busy and active, and then something life altering causes it to come to a sudden halt . . . take a minute . . .

My sweet Father in law has passed away. He was such a character. A brilliant man. A staunch defender of the faith. His silliness, spirit and his faithfulness will pass down through generations forever more.

He looked just like Santa Claus. I'm not kidding you. Even had a costume made . . . If I can find a picture, I'll show you later. One Summer afternoon when Sam was about six years old, one of his buddies came flying in our front door, heading straight up the stairs . . . you could almost hear his brakes screech as he came to a stop midway on the staircase . . . pointed to the fellow napping in our living room, and yelled, "What is SANTA doing sleeping on your couch!?"

My kids thought they were the luckiest kids in the world. Santa Claus was their Grandpa!

Have I ever told you that I married the boss' son? . . . I did. {sheepish grin here} Technically, we were engaged before I was hired, but we hadn't told his parents yet . . . but still . . .
We told them the day before I started work . . . he introduced me to every single patient as, "This is Debbi. She's going to be my daughter-in-law . . . unless I can talk them out of it."

All of the boys at our high school went to him for their sports physicals. He guest lectured the science classes. This is what I first knew of the man that I would someday call Dad.

Once when I was a teenager, my parents let me camp with boyfriend's family since the girls slept in the trailer with the parents . . . {Yep. We were high school sweethearts.} I shared the table/bed with my future husband's sister. Dad woke up at 4:30 . . . 5:00, or some similarly unheard of earliness, and began to make himself some breakfast. Note that I hardly knew this man at this point, and I was painfully shy . . . he turned the gas burner on . . . remember how that sounds and smells? . . . a gas burner in a camp trailer, from three feet away? Soft, gentle memories, perfect. . . . He buttered both sides of some wonderful nutty bread, then toasted one side at a time in a skillet . . . aware that he woke me, he served me first. Breakfast toast in bed. Just the two of us were awake in that trailer. Whispering. He told me how he needed a little something on his stomach so he wouldn't be ill when they took the inflatable Avon boat out into the ocean to dive for the abalone and rock cod that we would enjoy for dinner that evening. I still love toast made that way.

That very trip, he bought a piece of property there, at the ocean and with his boys built a vacation home. We visited it for many, many years. Happy, happy memories.

Years and years later, I have a photo of Dad . . . with tears in his eyes, wearing a bright yellow "Super Grandpa" Father's Day gift t-shirt, as he held his two day old first grandson. {Who, incidentally, looks just like him.}

Twenty-ish years ago, Dad began participating in medical missions . . . with Friendships. He had such a heart for missions . . . especially for Ecuador. He brought back little trinkets and dolls for our daughter from wherever he travelled to help those in pain . . .

He travelled to China . . . carried in boatloads of Bibles.

What a beautiful legacy he has left for his children and grandchildren.

Almost three years ago, we visited him in the hospital . . . we were told not to expect much from him, he was in a coma . . . and suddenly, on hearing our voices, he awoke. . . . wanted to know all about the kids, especially youngest Grandson, who was spending a semester at Oxford. So we told him. We told him how Sam's classes were going, how he was enjoying the British Isles, and . . . that he had met a girl. A local girl . . . in England. For the next hour, periodically, Dad would shut his eyes, giggle, shake his head, and say . . . "Had to go all the way to England to meet a girl from Rocklin. Had to go all the way to England to meet a girl from Rocklin."

Dad was too ill after a stroke to attend their wedding.

We did not live near him. In all honesty, his Grandchildren had very little opportunity to know him well . . . but they dearly loved him, all . . . and he loved them. I think one of his happiest thoughts was that all of his grandchildren are faithful Christians . . . and both of our sons are finding their ways into ministry . . . Zacharia, our eldest . . . that first Grandchild . . . is part of a medical mission team heading to Haiti very soon . . . Samuel is in Seminary.

Now, in a couple of days, we will bury him. Bless his soul. Our daughter Elizabeth's four year old son, Christian . . . comforting his Mommy after the news said, "It's okay, Mommy. He's with Jesus. I bet he likes the gold streets!" I'll bet Christian's right.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Soooo . . . what do you think of my tent in it's proper surroundings? This means it no longer gives us that extra little shelter in the living room, but it did look pretty good out there . . .
Can you believe this is really my assigned spot!?
I wish like everything I had taken a shot after my daughter left her things.
. . . ah, well . . .

My nephew, and his wife made Goat Milk Soap. It was absolutely the most popular item there. Hooray!

'scuse me now . . . while I take this headache to bed. It has been a loooong day!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bird Nest Pendant

Sterling Silver and Pearls . . . naturally, I'm a pearl girl . . .
. . . and I'm a little excited that I made my very first one! Watch out everyone! I think the world is about to be inundated with bird nest pendants!

My Cozy Little Office

Over indulging my Autumn nesting/coziness thing, I have set a tent up in the middle of my living room . . . See? Newspaper and computer all laid out . . . my Office, if you will . . . and let me tell you, it is cozy. I kind of love it.

Fact is, it's really a temporary 'fitting room', I suppose . . . I've spent the last couple of days sewing up the cover for this tent/canopy/whatever-thingee with that gorgeous dark-chocolate-and-latte striped canvas. You can see a bit of the matching table in the first photo . . . a little detail in the next . . .

I'm sharing a booth space with my nephew {who is selling Goat Milk Soap} at Bloomingcamp Ranch Octoberfest this weekend. My soldered charms are tiny, his soaps are small . . . we might have trouble filling even that six foot long table, but our space is gonna look good!

. . . and just for fun, if you sew, you'll get this next photo . . .

. . . theoretically, this is impossible right? I can't tell you how many times it happened while I was working on these projects! Either, the thread is broken and somehow healed, or there is a flaw in that needle, but the thread should not be outside of the eye of the needle and still attached! That's all there is to it.
That's why I took the photo, so I could enlarge it full screen and see if I could diagnose the problem. And, nope. I couldn't tell.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Candy Corn Cookies

Aren't these the cutest!?
These are orange flavored. I think I'll do them correctly the first time, then I want to see what happens when I substitute Wilton's loverly Butter Flavoring {for the orange} to try to duplicate the actual flavor of candy-corn.
I'll let you know if I get that far! But sometimes, it's a matter of, "Why mess with perfection?"
I didn't create this recipe . . . it is compliments of Land-O-Lakes, I don't even get credit for finding it . . .
I happened across this beauty when Hometown Girl posted it . . . she found it on her friend's blog . . . I have not followed the virtual link trail back any further, but it might be fun to see how many links it takes to get to Land-O-Lakes . . . :)

I can't vouch for these yet, but what could possibly be wrong with them!? They're cute, they're teensie, they're sweet, they're cookies for Goodness sake! Sounds like sweet perfection to me!

Around these parts, we don't celebrate Halloween, so it's not always easy, but it is always a treat to find something traditionally Autumny to sink our sweet-tooths into!

Recipe below, but go to the Land-O-Lakes website for a printable {and properly formatted} version!

Sparkling Candy Corn Cookies

45 min.prep time 3:25total time
15 dozen miniature cookies

1 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 Land O Lakes® All-Natural Egg
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Orange paste or gel food color
Yellow paste or gel food color
1/2 cup sugar

Line bottom and sides of 9x5-inch loaf pan with waxed paper or plastic food wrap. Set aside.

Combine butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy.

Add egg, orange juice, orange zest and salt. Continue beating until well mixed.
Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking soda. Beat until well mixed.

Divide dough into thirds.
Press one-third of white dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan.
Place another one-third of dough back into same bowl. Add small amount of orange food color; mix until color is well blended. Press orange dough evenly over white dough in pan.
Place remaining one-third of dough into another medium bowl. Add small amount of yellow food color; mix until color is well blended. Press yellow dough evenly over orange dough in pan.

Cover with plastic food wrap; refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours or overnight).

Place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl; set aside.

Heat oven to 375°F.

Invert loaf pan to remove dough. Peel off waxed paper.
Place layered dough onto cutting surface.

Cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch slices using sharp knife, trimming edges to make even, if necessary.
Cut each slice into 6 wedges.

Place 1-inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned.

Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.

Immediately place warm cookies in bowl with sugar; roll in sugar to coat.

Place cookies onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

Store in loosely covered container.

Every single piece of information that one owns increases the enrichment of every other single piece . . .

Friday, October 8, 2010

Framed Butterfly Art How-to . . .

What do you think? Kind of pretty, isn't it?
Needing to fill a blank space on the wall, in a hurry . . . Son and his Bride were coming for a visit . . . like tomorrow {when I did it} . . . and the guest bath was a sight! This isn't difficult, or expensive . . . at all!
In this case it was free.
Here's how it goes . . . in the first photo, you can tell that I have removed the glass for the purpose of photographing . . . you can also tell that the butterflies are glued down . . . right? See?
{clicking on the photos it will enlarge them, in case you need a clearer view}

I cut those gorgeous butterflies out of a piece of really, exquisite scrapbook paper that I already had. They were even pre-glittered! Just cut your images out carefully . . .
Next . . . to disguise the white edges where you have trimmed . . . pass the felt edge of a sharpie along all raw paper edges. I liked the black one for this use, but I often use a nice chocolate brown felt tipped pen for finishing edges like this.

Lay all of your elements out carefully inside your frame . . . it helps to correct your spacing . . .
Line them up on a larger sheet cut to fit the frame opening . . . It could be scrapbook paper or any old thing with the look that pleases you . . . sheet music . . . printed page . . . map . . . burlap . . . linen . . .
Spot glue in place . . . reinsert glass, and frame!
I got really lucky and had this Target clearanced Rachel Ashwell frame in my frame pile/stash.
I just knew I would find something to put in such a pretty blue frame!
Et Voila! In practically an instant . . . a lovely piece of original framed art is yours!
Now, wasn't that cinchy!?

Jane Austen Scrapbook

After Sweet Vic over at Jane Austen Today mentioned my Jane Austen Scrapbook, {and thank you, Vic, I am so flattered!} . . . I thought I might add a few more pages . . . I took very few photos, a very unfortunate misunderstanding on my part . . . but I bought several postcards, which are pretty great representations, anyway! Thank Goodness!

Above {These actual pieces are on display in the cottage!} are a few pieces of Jane and Cassandra's jewelry.

The back of the postcard reads: The topaz crosses were given to Jane {right} and Cassandra {left} by their brother Charles. Charles purchased the crosses with prize money from the capture of a French vessel during the Napoleonic War.

Actual photograph that I did take of Jane Austen's Donkey Cart! Such amazing personal possessions! I think this is a large part of those things which set Chawton College apart from a lot of other Home Museums. It is filled, mainly, with Jane's and her family's actual possessions.

This is also one of the photos that I shot . . . I am not certain, but pretty sure, that the sign said this is the cornerstone from Jane's Father's church. Please notify me if you know this to be incorrect!

For some reason . . . I have a set of First Day Covers of Jane Austen Stamps . . . dated 1975 . . . go figure!

If you happen to be inclined . . . scroll down a few posts, to see more photos from my scrapbook
. . . or follow this link. Having the opportunity to visit her house in Chawton was just one of the most wonderful opportunities EVER!
If you follow the tags/links beneath this post, they will take you to the posts that I wrote home to my family while we were in England. If you ever have the opportunity . . . by all means, GO! Go! GO!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October Morning

Soft fuzzy light, a warm cuddle blanket, a cup of tea and thee . . .
Mmmmm . . . I love Autumn.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I have not been sitting around twiddling my thumbs . . .

. . . but I can't tell you when the swelling will go down, and I'll have fingerprints again!
It's kinda cute though, huh?
At a recent baby shower, we were each asked to make a quilt square. Everything was provided, the iron on adhesive was already applied to the back of the myriad fabric options . . . There were embellishments, and embroidery floss . . . the squares were precut to the proper size, and templates were available to trace each person's choice of jungle creature . . . {I kind of have a thing for giraffes.}
The thing was, I couldn't get near the table to make one! Good excuse, eh? A good excuse that was thwarted by my Sister-in-law a couple of weeks later when she showed up on a family outing with all of the supplies that I could possibly need to make a quilt square. Funny girl.
All obstacles removed from my path, this is the result . . . one of the new Grammy's friends will turn this into a wonderful keepsake quilt . . . Nice. :)
. . . and a great idea, don't you think?

A Makeover and Jewelry Props

{. . . and very inexpensive at Marshall's, I must add! $7.99 and 24 inches tall.}

. . . and After

. . . got rid of the funny little bow . . . ground the sharp edges . . . added a nice coat of matte black paint . . . and she's a new . . . er . . . woman!

I'm collecting jewelry props for a couple of upcoming shows.
I'm kind of pleased so far . . . what do you think?
P.S. . . . The minute that I hit publish, Blogger takes it upon itself to reformat my carefully formatted post. Does anyone want to share suggestions with me . . . about how to deal with that?! And Heaven help you if you click on Preview . . . it's all a tossup after that! I have formatted and deleted this post at least five times . . . then finally gave up and accepted the closest option to my plan . . . I'm on the verge of cussing over here, I'm telling you! Help!
Somebody! Help!

Jane Austen

Did you know that I'm a hopeless Janeite?

Did you know that I dragged my sweet husband and son to her home while we were in England!? I know! Darlings, aren't they?!

Did you know that her portrait and a picture of her cottage in Chawton actually hang in my home!!? And that I bought them in the bookshop inside her home?

Did you know that I have only finished three scrapbook projects in my life . . . one for my Mother, a copy of that one for my brother, and "Our Visit to Jane Austen's Home"!?

Yep . . . even bought bookplates, scratched my name onto this one with that pheasant feather quill . . . it came from the gift shop, too . . . told you I was hopeless!
So you'll understand when I tell you how excitedly I read Vic's, Jane Austen Today post, A Virtual Visit to Chawton Cottage. In it she has posted a virtual treasury of links to other blogs, as well as a few on You Tube . . . in case, you, too . . . have an interest verging on obsession . . . :) I especially enjoyed Tony Grant's blog, London Calling {this link will take you directly to his Chawton Cottage post} . . . he visited the house, photographed the interior and the community . . . I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it . . . especially since, when we were there, I apparently misunderstood the photographic restrictions, and took only one photo inside! Can you believe that!? . . .but it was of her writing table . . .
Okay, so I have confessed . . . Hello. My name is Debbi, and I am a hopeless Janeite.
. . . but there are worse things . . . No?
P.S. I've added a few more photos on this post! Just in case, you know . . .

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cool Photo Textures

Do you love them? I am crazy about the new textures on Picnik. Aren't they just gorgeous?!
The crackling makes the second photo look almost like an old master. But that first one . . .I think I might need that one printed up to use as an artwork . . . hmmm . . . maybe on a canvas?
The floral arrangement accounts for several of those gazillion errands on my list today . . . hunting/gathering . . . sometimes that's my life.

Wanna see the original snapshot?

Original and untouched.
Now what do you think of Picnik?
You might understand my crush. :)

Errand Day

I'm off to run a gazillion errands! Everything from procurement of wonderful tidbits for my classes, to a quick flower order. Before I do one {a flower arrangement} these days, I have to buy oasis and a vase. That's sure a change from the old days! {for the uninitiated . . . I used to have a floral business . . . became allergic to flowers . . . I like to say, "That's one way to know you're not where God wants you to be!"}
I still do the occasional wedding or order, but I really have to like you! :)
Before I set off to accomplish my chores, I want to leave you with a work in progress for my girlfriend, Rhonda . . . It involves this! . . . her Grandmother's Brooch . . . Isn't it gorgeous!?
. . . and these elements, mostly her Grandmother's, as well . . . talk about a Treasure Necklace!

Talk to you later! Maybe I'll have wonderfulness to share!

Much Love!