Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aunt Mody Brownies

This recipe is so beloved that an entire settlement of people believe that there is no other brownie recipe! It is a pure recipe with only old fashioned ingredients.
Aunt Mody was "aunt" to everyone. She was a kind and gentle soul who was the favorite family reunion baker. Brownies are not the real thing unless they are her recipe!

Aunt Mody Brownies
2 sticks of butter melted
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs (if you want more cake like brownies, whip the eggs instead of just stirring them in)
scant 1/2 cup cocoa (scant-just slightly less than)
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp vanilla (I always triple the vanilla!)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Bake in a greased 9x13 pan @ 350 for approx. 20 min.
Do not over cook!

Serve ever so slightly warm with Bluebell ice cream!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Nellie's magical biscuit bowl

You could say we are a biscuit family. I don't mean the kind that come in a roll from the store, rather the kind where you make a great floury mess all over your kitchen:) The siblings and I each think that we are the premier biscuit maker in the family and beyond. One of these days we are going to have a biscuit bake off and settle this once and for all! I must admit my daughter Brittany is going to be tough to beat with her "melt in the mouth" biscuits she makes for our Nellie's Cottage retreats.

There is an art to making biscuits. They are best made with a love of all things southern and of feeding the people you love. My grandmother Nellie cooked three meals a day her whole life... I cannot even imagine having quite that much love for my family...hahaha:)

One of the treasured items I have from her is a biscuit bowl.

I have thought about the "things" we treasure knowing that they are just things. Truly it is the connection we have to the people that possessed the "things" that really matters. This bowl is heavy and bulky. I have been terrified to use it for fear I may drop it on my tile. One day I saw it there collecting dust in my cabinet. It looked forlorn and stripped of purpose. I could almost see Nellie in her kitchen, apron covered with flour, turning the biscuit dough with her time worn hands. With this image I pulled the bowl out and proceeded to make my pie dough in that very bowl.

A smile crossed my face as I imagined her delight at my perfectly formed dough ball in her bowl.
We connected across the space of time and just for a second I could feel what it was like to be with her.

So "things" you say? This bowl is not replaceable, they don't make them like this anymore. Even if I could find one... it wouldn't be Nellie's.

 The bowl is now back in service with every biscuit, roll, and pie dough I feels like going grandma's house every time:)

Cowboy biscuits

Who knew a bowl could make a difference? It is as if Nellie's magical baking abilities embedded in the bowl sprinkle just the right amount of baking fairy dust to create taste bud heaven in our home:)
And that my friends cannot be replaced, only handed down from Nellie to me, to my daughter, and then a granddaughter and generations to come. With the bowl comes the love Nellie had for her family...and that IS the magical source of the biscuit bowl:)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Washi week:)

I have been too busy to craft:( or if I do it is at midnight...this can make me quite grumpy! I NEED to create! Washi tape has come to the rescue. I declared this week to be washi week with a project every day simply because it is super fun, super fast, and just plain makes me happy:) I have quite a collection now but am quite sure not the largest collection of washi tape....this I know from watching scrappers come to Nellie's Cottage!

p.s. I apologize for the fuzzy pictures-tried a new way to send them via email. didn't work so well!

Washi tape day 1

Embellish a candle or two-
Choose washi tape to match any decor or style to punch up your candles!

Washi tape day 2

Cover a mini clipboard-
I chose colors to match my office. I tried to alternate blues, blacks, and creams without creating a pattern. Stamped butterfly's, printed tickets, half of a gold "sign", black rub-ons, and my signature were added and then...I mod podged the whole clipboard. Fun yarn was added to finish this project off to my creative satisfaction:)

Washi tape day 3

Texas looks good in Washi!-
My youngest daughter and hubby attend university in Utah. Danielle misses Texas! I created this to frame for her wall so she can smile at the thought of coming home:)

Heart of Texas Studio has Texas shaped chipboard albums which are fabulous! I covered this one shaped page choosing different angles of layering washi tape for design and ease of covering the shape. I used a wax W (for Williams) that came from a wedding invitation...way to re-cycle!
A white washed fence cardstock from Glitz design made the perfect backdrop. Silver chipboard letters complete the idea! Frame to be built by dad out of pallets.

Washi tape day 4

Cheery pocket accordion album-
This 4x4 pocket album screams summer & fun! I covered both front and back of album with washi tape, then covered the pages with cardstock. I plan to include pictures of the grandchildren by the pool like this funny pic of my granddaughter Scarlett with her first ice-cream push up! Her swimsuit was the color inspiration for this project. I will mod podge this after I put the pictures in because it need to be "little hands friendly".

Washi tape day 5

Soda bottle art-
I have been collect glass soda bottles, now really knowing what I would do with them but this was the best idea! These blues are my favorite color at present with no sign of being replaced:) I tried to alternate blues with printed whites. When wrapping a round object you will have some wrinkling of the tape to keep the line bur it adds to the charm of the piece do don't worry about it! The turquoise yarn was added as a final touch, glued into place with liquid adhesive in strategic points. Spray acrylic is a good sealer for these types of projects.

More of my blue projects:

My front door

My favorite cabinet

60 year old porch table built by Papa Geldard 

Patio decor

Washi tape day 6

Funny polka dot frame-
I totally had this picture in mind when I chose these fun coral washi tapes:) This was my least favorite washi project. It was harder than I thought but half way through the wrapping I discovered that laying the washi tape where you want it on top and THEN connecting on the back was much easier. Don't mind the wrinkles-no way to avoid them on the corners. I used matte Mod Podge to seal washi tape.
Scarlett is getting quite silly and this fun frame perfectly suits the mood of this picture:)

More projects with washi tape:

Pinterest print in a frame
Washi tape day 7

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Calendar Art

I love calendars:) It must be my obsession with time and lists and also my love of flowers and colorful prints! This calendar from 2010 became the perfect art work for the rooms at Flossy's, my newly renovated additional sleeping cottage. I realize not many people would hang on to a calendar for 4 years hoping to find a use for the beautiful prints but I did:)

As Annabelle says "Guys, this is what we do"

1. Find a beautiful calendar and hoard it until you find the perfect use:)

2. Talk the hubby into cutting 1x4's, which then need gluing and stapling together. 
    *Only tell him one step at a time so he won't think it is a big honey-do:)

3. Dig out the old school board yard signs (or any other foam board), cut them to fit the print, spray adhesive on the foam board and then smooth the print over the board.

4. Prime and paint frames. I used acrylic craft paint and chose colors that coordinated which each print.

5. After the paint dries completely....from experience! THEN tape or staple the foam board print to the back of the frame. Add a picture holder...I like the "teeth" ones:)

6. Line up your art work and admire them before they are separated forever!

And this is how you turn a hoarded 2010 calendar into art for a cute retreat cottage:)

A sneak peak at Flossy's...still hanging curtains, painting night stands and other details
AND taking better pics!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Simply Sisters

I have studied this picture from 1983 of my Grandmother Nellie and her sister Flossy. They look so stoic and wise, emanating the kind of character that comes from a life well lived.

Notice the lawn chair in the kitchen instead of a real chair... silly me was wishing for new seat cushions the other day because I am "tired" of mine. Nellie is wearing a dress as always and I never remember Aunt Flossy without her pants. They both were unhappy with their names complaining that they were named after every cow in the county….maybe just a bit:)

Most importantly notice their hands held together. I imagine they spend many hours holding each other's hand through the challenges of life. They lived next door to each other for over 45 years.

Nellie was only 14, and Flossy 11 when their dad abandoned the family never to be seen or heard from again. She and her brother Vernon had to go to work to help support their family.
Nellie married my grandfather Albert at 17. Flossy married at 14.
They were both so talented. Nellie with her vegetable & flower gardens and Flossy with her extraordinary seamstress skills. They lived a life without fanfare or fame and yet there is something in me that has wanted to share a bit of them through Nellie's Cottage and now Flossy's renovated home for my new sleeping cottage.
I simply cannot decorate, design or work on the cottages without wishing they could be here. Without wanting confirmation that they are both happy with what I have done with their homes. I like to think they would be pleased.

This layout is to hang in Nellie's Cottage, a tribute to a life time of sisterly love and devotion.
Layers and layers of paper, trim, tags, and borders build this layout's foundation.
I chose the paper and silk flowers for Nellie's love of roses. The tape measure, buttons and zipper flower are for Aunt Flossy and her love of sewing. The colors are soft and subtle much like they were, no flash, no overdeveloped sense of "me time" needed…simply sisters.

p.s. I printed this picture from my older home computer just to scrapbook this page when I was "feeling it":) I will definitely get one printed from Sam's to replace it, quality is terrible:)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lil spit fire! Mother's Day winners

Congratulations to Gina & Kellie for winning a girls night at Nellie's Cottage! 
Sonja is the winner of a  "family" chipboard album kit:)

Gina gave me permission to share her entry on my blog. 
This entry was a fun read and really captured my theme "She is the voice in my head!" 

"I always thought my Mom had funny sayings. She is 4'11" and a lil spit fire. Her most famous was do you want a spanking? Did she think we would say yes? Or, say it one more time and I'll wash you're mouth out with soap and make you like it! Really Mom, make us like it? Or how about I didn't raise a pack of wolves, so stop ya howling(which stood for whining). I heard her say a thousand times, we aren't air conditioning Tyler County, shut the door! 

But then she had her sweet sayings. She always said if God had made her children any better looking, he would have kept us for himself. Or if we were any sweeter she could make her own sugar. She always said the angels were jealous because God had blessed her so much. There was six of us kids, and now with my five, I think how did she ever manage? She is a true blessing. She taught us love for Christ. Respect for our elders and ourselves. Kindness for others. She is the angel!"                                                Gina

Saturday, May 3, 2014

She is the voice in my head

We can't escape them.
We can't ignore them.
We can't re-write them
The words of our mothers are etched deeply into our mind.
You know…the phrases we rolled out eyes to, the comforting words when life went crazy, and the lessons repeated over and over again.
What are they?
What difference do they make in our lives?

This is the subject for my annual mother's day essay contest. 
The winners will receive a free night at Nellie's Cottage for up to 8 friends:)
You can turn it into a weekend for half price.

To enter:
1. Be a blog follower! Left hand side of home page, blue box, join this site, follow prompts
2. Write a paragraph or two about the words of your mother.
3. Email your entry to

The winners will be chosen by my 4 children:)

Good Luck!

A circle of sparkly yarn

Yarn is a wonderful thing.
Glue dots are a wonderful thing.
but…..Multi colored sparkly yarn and giant glue circles together are a fabulous thing!

These yarn flower circles are easy to make and so versatile for hair bands, frames, bows, and any other item that need embellishing. This Red Heart Boutique yarn comes in many different shades, and even sports team colors:) I bought mine at JoAnns.  

These giant glue circles are genius! I love them for making any kind of flower with yard or trim.

I have 4 granddaughters, so making bows is a constant project:) Layering the yarn flower on silk or paper flowers adds a bit of drama…perfect for little or big girls.

I can't seem to ever leave a frame plain!
These grey felt flowers were a finishing touch with the yarn flower.
Scrapbook pages are also always an option for these kind of flowers.

Making these is ever so easy, you simply begin with the yarn in the center of the glue circle,
Wrap tightly around and around until you reach the edge.
The other side of the circle is sticky as well.
Peel off the second covering and attach the felt circle to the back.
This is an easy project to take on trip, minimal supplies, maximum results!
I am seriously in love with yarn again and am looking around to see what else I can add one of these beauties to:)