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Wife, Mother, Mimi, lover of all things creative... sewing, embroidery, painting, collage... God and family are the most important things in my life.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thinking of Gifts

It is that time of year when minds turn to gift giving.  Because my mind was headed in that direction this morning, I remembered that I had never shared the gift I put together for my daughter's birthday last spring.

After seeing this darling tea tray above from Martha Stewart's website she decided she would love to have one like it.

Since I've collected ceramic and pottery planters for years, this request delighted me to no end.  Most of my planters are shaped like animals or people.  They are mostly whimsical.

I started collecting them for nostalgic reasons.  My mom had two that I remember growing up.  One of the was a little duck and it was in our bathroom.  She told me it was the first thing she bought when she had her first job and made her first money.  Now I'm probably the most sentimental person you know.  So every time I see those little planters something about them connects me to my sweet momma.

I have never really gotten into the little rectangle planters, but I saw them everywhere when I shopped for the other kind.  They were usually very plentiful and a good bit less expensive than the kind I was looking for, so naturally, I thought this was going to be a breeze to put together.

I'm thinking everyone else must have come across Martha's ingenious  use for these little gems, because the moment I began to look it seemed they were nowhere to be found.  When I did find one they were a lot more expensive than I remembered.  Not outlandish at all, but still 2 to 4 times what I remembered previously seeing them priced.

I began searching antique shops, thrift stores,  Etsy, and Ebay all looking for pieces to make it work.
Finally, I found enough to put it together.  I wanted to use all green planters, but believe it or not, I couldn't find enough green ones before her birthday.
I improvised with a yellow planning to switch it out for a green later, but honestly, I didn't think about it again until I saw this picture.  I think I need to remedy that.

My daughter was really pleased with her gift, and we had a little tea party with the children that very afternoon.

One particular little one had a hard time waiting until I took the pictures.  Those cookies and sugar cubes were calling her name! Notice the little hand in all of the pictures, always close to the cookies?

Finally, she could resist no longer.  There she goes right in the middle of the snap!

By the way, I have started a new collection.  This one makes me think of my precious daughter.  Can you guess what it is?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Enjoying Fall

Summer days are finally past, and it has been cool enough to get outside and do a little outdoor cooking.

We really enjoy trying new Dutch oven recipes when we get a chance.

This particular night we tried an onion dip, Cowboy Cornbread, and Hornet's Nest Cake (pictured above).  The cake taste a lot like pecan pie.  I posted the recipe below.  I found it on Every Day Dutch Oven blog.  

On this night we made Skillet Apple Pie,  meatloaf,  baked potatoes, turnip greens and cornbread.  

We plan to cook most of our Thanksgiving meal outside this year. Here's the mister and Thumper giving a turkey a trial run.  It was delish!

All of this outdoor cooking may have been inspired by my husband's cast iron collection. 

If you have a Dutch Oven give this recipe a try.  It's really easy and is probably different than your usual DO dessert.  If you have any unique Dutch oven recipes, by all means, leave one in the comments!

Dutch Oven Hornet's Nest Cake

Note:  (I would recommend only using 3/4 to 1/2 of the package of butterscotch chips. It was a little too sweet for me with the whole package in there. )


    • 1 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding mix
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1 18 oz package plain yellow cake mix
    • 1 11 oz package butterscotch chips
    • 1 cup chopped pecans


    1. Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
    2. Mix pudding and milk in large bowl according to package directions.
    3. Add cake mix, stir until well combined, there will be a few lumps in the batter.
    4. Pour batter into prepared dutch oven, smooth evenly with spatula.
    5. Sprinkle batter completely with butterscotch chips.
    6. Sprinkle chips with chopped pecans.
    7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until tester in center comes out clean.
    8. Cool in dutch oven for 30 minutes before lifting out with parchment paper.
    9. Cut into small pieces, cake is very rich.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Summer's End and More Family Fun

We were so excited when we got a call from our niece in California saying she and her family were coming to visit!!!  It had been so long since we had seen them and could hardly believe they were going to be coming our way.

Only one of her children had ever met only one of our grandchildren and that was when they were both babies so, of course, they didn't remember. 

 We had so much fun!  We did all of the country life sort of things like riding in the back of the truck, feeding the cows...

a little alligator handling...
and a little fishing

We took a little trip down to the beach for a little cousin time.

There were mermaid tales to build.

There were little crabs just begging to be caught.

And wheelbarrow races are ever so much more fun in the water.

 The water and sand were great fun, but...

 what we enjoyed the most was just being together!  I hope we get to do it all again really soon!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Part Two of Our Vacation

The next leg of my September journey started when I left Utah and headed to meet my husband and several of  his family members in South Carolina.  

They had all attended the wedding of our nephew at the Biltmore Estate while I was out west.  It was one of those times when I truly wished I could have been two places at once.

Once we all arrived we had so much fun just hanging out together and catching up with each other.  We ate some very tasty meals, and enjoyed shopping and checking out some of the local scenery.

The trees are my favorite part of this area of South Carolina.  The strong and graceful boughs of the ancient oaks reaching up toward heaven, and outward as if in welcome just draw me.  Those laced with ghostly wisps of moss are hauntingly beautiful.  The moss sways to and fro in the gentle breezes like paper fans in warm southern church services a few years back.

I really loved Edisto Island!  

It was like nothing I've ever seen.  The beach was blanketed inches deep with shells, and the trees grew right up to the edge of the beach, so unlike any other beach I've visited.  
The trees along the water's edge were barren and weathered which added to the beauty in radical contrast to the lush greenery just a few feet inland.  The water was so calm on the day we visited, and everything had such a peaceful feeling about it.

Our next outing was a little surprise to us.  Our niece's boss took us all out on his sail boat for the afternoon.

 It was a beautiful day for it!

We sailed along the Battery in Charleston looking at the beautiful historical homes and churches, and the fort.  It was amazing.  It's hard to be in a place so full of history and not get pulled back deep in your mind to another time. 

Sailing was so much fun, and a really great way to experience Charleston.  However, it is certainly not a leisurely pastime!  The guys and our niece were constantly moving from one duty to another.  My sisters-in-law and myself mainly just enjoyed the ride.  

We all really hated it when our time together came to an end, but now we can begin planning for next time.