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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Little Easter in the House!

Christmas decorations remind me of home and past and I love revisiting those old friends. But Easter and spring just makes me smile! Bunnies and chicks, eggs and nests. It's spring!


This year I started with my hutch. Laura from Decor to Adore described hers as a "cabinet of curiosities" and I like that idea. Mine is, as well, changed up for the season.


In fact, I'd like to keep the doors open all season -- but I'd probably bump my head on the corner too many times!


It's a time to revisit tiny bunnies and some of my china collecting favorites, like this Fiesta jug. (The plate behind it was a gift from a friend who found it in Normandy and I love the colors!).


The little pink peat pot is one of several that were part of a peat-pot-making-spree several years ago.


The other side of the top shelf finds two bunnies in front of a favorite photo by Cheryl Rice, who is also one of our Cork Poppers.


Years ago when Cheryl was doing art fairs, I got this one and it's moved from room to room! Perfect for spring. (Aren't those shiny eggs cute? Target bargain section, $3 for two. They're place card holders!)


Down below you'll find my favorite Hall Crocus pattern jug. Those dishes always make a spring appearance, too. (And you'll see -- even in the kitchen!)


And of course, a little crystal to pick up the light. I'm very fond of these metal bunnies.


Atop the china cabinet you will find a few things near and dear to my heart!


This sweet wooden bunny has such personality, I can't resist him. I've had that egg in front of him for longer than I can remember. It's a favorite! The photo behind him is by my friend Jane Rosemont. Sort of perfect for Easter, don't you think?


The hydrangeas and baskets came from Southern Exposure. I love the lift that the bright green gives!


And of course you will note the sweet little baby-in-a-nest next to it. That's our boy!


Across the room on another cabinet is the wreath I did at Southern Exposure several years ago. It remains one of my favorites! (Southern Exposure workshops start again next month and I can't wait!)


I added in a few touches, a sweet velvet bird, among others. Couldn't resist.


In the corner, a little village.


This egg tree (and the one you'll see in another post) are golden oldies.


And I just love these!


The Pendelfin bunnies (along with Hummels) were my first collections, started as an Easter gift from my mom. I don't see them often now and it's fun to make friends with them again!


And of course, you have to have something on the coffee table. (Well, OK, usually there is a lot on the coffee table and little falls into the category of home decor!)


I found this small aqua box at Target in the almost-a-dollar section. ($3) The bunny was an "old friend" and I added the daffodils, eggs, moss and these cute Target lights (same spot, $3 per strand.) They had them in pink and natural too, and I need to go back for more!



Another table holds a large basket of eggs.


My second "cabinet of curiosities) didn't get much of a change-up inside.


But it was fun to add a floral swag, bunnies and an Easter banner at the top!


There is even a sprig of lily of the valley for the Greeting Angel.


And some cheerful flowers and fairy lights to brighten it all up!


Then, of course, there is the family room... but we'll save that for later!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Angels Watching Over Us

So, when the end is near, do you think your life flashes before you? What goes through your mind?


I never really thought about that question too much until last weekend when the end came perilously near. Rick and I were driving home from dinner with our friend Jan, who was in the front seat with Rick. We were headed home on a busy one way street, a Friday around 8:30. The road was busier than it sometimes is with cars in the lanes to our left, some to the right, when we saw a police car with its lights on, rushing down a perpindicular street just at the next light -- and going through the light.


The police car turned into our one-way street -- going against traffic. And then we saw it.

He was chasing another car, coming straight toward us in our lane, driving at an extreme rate of speed. The police car was in hot pursuit, again headed straight toward us.

We were within just a few feet of being slammed head-on when Rick swerved the car into the lane to our right. Fortunately, no one was there.


Without his quick reflexes I am confident that this would have been one of those blogs where people simply disappear and you always wonder. Are they ill? Are they traveling? Will they write here again? Did they just give up blogging?


Those of you who know me might send an email that would be unanswered. Others would simply give up.

I've thought a lot about that evening over the last few days. I think about it all the time. I've thought about how grateful I am for Rick's quick thinking, although I think it was more instinct than anything else. He learned, when racing bicycles on the velodrome, how to avoid collisions, as velodrome bikes don't have brakes. You swerve. Remember that one.


I've thought about how grateful I am there was no one in the lane into which we swerved. There was no time to look. That, too, could have been a crash and probably a debilitating one -- but not so fatal as the alternative.

I've thought about Lizzie, who would be expecting me home and no one realizing that she was there alone, hungry, wondering when her people would come feed her.


I've thought about being grateful that I had no unfinished business with people. No arguments outstanding. No bad will. And it reminded me that I should see more often the people I care about as our busy lives often fail to connect.

When I saw the headlight of the car coming toward us (one headlight was out) I was shocked but calm. No screaming. Until that very instant after when we were safe. And then I shook like a leaf.

All of us have had follow-up issues. We can't find anything about an arrest in the news, so what happened? This chase began in another county but why in the world would an urban chase involve the police chasing backwards on a busy one-way street? Is an arrest more important than the danger all the drivers in that area were faced with? For if that car had collided with us head-on, it wouldn't just be us that felt the aftermath. Without doubt cars would have careened into others and many people would have been hurt.


I truly believe that God, the universe -- call it what you will -- had more work for all three of us to do on this earth. What that work is, I don't know. Being kind? Helping others? Some great mission we've yet to discover?


I don't know. I probably never will. What I do know is that I will forever be grateful, thankful. I will value the life I live even more than I did before. I will continue to live each day in a way that if it was to be my last it would be the best it could be.


And yes, I've always believed in angels. And they were with us that night.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Let's Make an Easter Banner

Now that I've settled back from vacation, I'm getting into spring decorating mode! It's one of my favorite seasons to deck the halls because the colors are so fresh and lively -- and in Michigan, we need that! So before I left, I did a little crafting -- making an Easter Banner!


I started out with banner templates (Michael's -- on sale for $2.95) and went through my pile of papers -- scrapbook, wallpaper and some larger decorative sheets, cutting out triangles using the template and gluing them together. Then I punched holes in the tops.


I made the "medallion" by pleating this pretty multi-colored crepe paper (an old Dollar Tree find!). I stapled the first half of the crimping and then made a line of glue along the inside (crimping) edge and finished up.


Then using wallet-sized printouts from my online images collections (mostly from old Easter postcards), I cut circles which I trimmed down to better fit the medallion and glued them together.


What a pretty bunch of triangles!


I finished them off by adding a button at the point.


After arranging them by color and design, I added a pale blue ribbon from my stash to tie them together, leaving a long tail for hanging.


I run the ribbon through the back, up through the hole on one side so it is now on the front; knot it on the front and then put the long ribbon back through the hole -- and up through the hole of the next banner flag. Then knot, back through the hole to the back of that piece and up through the hole on the other side of the same piece, knot, through the hole and attach the next one.

OR you can knot in front and connect to the next banner triangle from the front. If you look at the two photos of completed banners below you'll see the difference of how they look depending on how you string them.


It sounds confusing but you really get a rhythm after the first! And there you have it -- a cheerful banner to get the season started!

Strung connecting the triangles from the front

If you want, you can go to town with glitter and more ribbons (I actually think I'll add a couple more ribbons to the ends of both of the banners I made), use other embellishments to glitz it up, depending on your theme!

Strung connecting the triangles from the back.
(Now it's time to get out the nests, bunnies and Easter Egg tree! Well, as you can see, one is already out!)


This post will link to Share Your Cup, Monday Social, Share Your Style and Pink Saturday as the links become available.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fudgies! And Three Recipes!

Here in Michigan we call people who visit the beautiful Mackinac Island (located in the Straits of Mackinac where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet) Fudgies.


Mackinac Island is know for its fudge (among other things, including a no-car policy, it's magnificent Grand Hotel and for being the setting for the film "Somewhere in Time.") Anyone who visits always seems to leave with a pound (or more) of fudge from one of the island's many shops.


Well, we make pretty darned good fudge in the lower part of the state as well. I decided that for our St. Patrick's Day dinner, I would make grown-up ice cream and candy. The result was my Bailey's ice cream, Luck of the Irish Cream Fudge and Paul Hollywood's soda bread.


I pulled the fudge recipe (originally called Irish Cream Truffle Fudge) from allrecipes.com. I'm going to print it here because my instructions are better than theirs!

LUCK OF THE IRISH CREAM FUDGE

Butter and 8x8 pan. (I did. It's too thick. Next time I'd use at least a 9x9 and I'd line it with foil or waxed paper for easier removal)


Melt 3 c. semisweet chocolate chips, 1 c. white chocolate chips and 1/4 c. butter in a double boiler.

HINT: Melt the butter first. It will help keep the chocolate from seizing up. You could do this in the microwave too, but I didn't have the nerve!

Use a mixer to ensure all is melted and shiny. Then add 1 c. Irish Cream liqueur (I used Bailey's), about a quarter cup at a time so it doesn't splash, as you continue to beat.

Then add 3 c. confectioners sugar -- again, a bit at a time, mixing, incorporating and then more.

Finally, 1 1/2 c. chopped nuts. The original recipe said to stir it in but I mixed because the fudge is thick and I wanted to be sure it was well incorporated.

Put into your pan, press a sheet of plastic over the top and smooth down.

The original recipe calls for a glaze. It's fine but I'm not sure I'd use it again. It does add to the thickness of the fudge.

Melt 2 T. butter, 1 c. semisweet chips, 1/2 c. white chocolate chips.

Using the mixer, add 4 T. Irish cream liqueur. Spread over the top and refrigerate till firm, at least a couple of hours.


This has HUGE yield! At least it did for me, because I made it in the 8x8 and it was so thick that I cut the pieces fairly thin. So far (and there is still a giant lump in the fridge with a good 25 pieces to it) i have had a yield of six dozen. A huge hit at our dinner and with the many friends who were on the receiving end of a delivery!

PAUL HOLLYWOOD'S SODA BREAD


Are you a fan of the Great British Baking Show? I am. I love it and part of the reason are its judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, both noted bakers. Some of the PBS programs include master classes by Paul and Mary and this is where I first read of his soda bread recipe.

It's simple. But the directions on his site are not in good old American measurements and baking times, so I'll translate here.

250 grams white flour (this is about 2 cups)
250 grams whole wheat flour (about 2 cups)
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1.7 cups -- I think that came to about 1 3/4 --  buttermilk (400 ml)

That's it. Mix it together, knead a bit, put into a round ball, cut all the way through the center crossways (see the video below) and bake at about 400 F for 30 minutes.  (200 C)

It's glorious. Here's how Paul does it.


BAILEY'S ICE CREAM


I originally got this from my massage therapist, the Divine Sarah, and then Jenna at Painted Apron also featured a version. You saw this recipe in the last post, but here it is, a bit more complete -- just so they are all together.

Mix 1 pint heavy whipping cream to slightly stiff peaks (but not butter!)
Add 1 can sweetened condensed milk and beat again to peaks
Add 2 T. or a little more of the Baileys (or another flavoring) and beat again.
(If you want, you could then add fudge bits from the recipe above, mini chips or another add in).


Pour into a pan lined with plastic (mine was 7x11ish) and cover with plastic. Freeze. I served mine with grated semi-sweet chocolate.

This recipe makes quite a bit -- and it really is wonderful! I hope you try it and enjoy!

This post is joining up with Share Your Cup and Share Your Style, where you can find some delightful links to check out!

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