Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A White Christmas.... Finally!

We finally got our white Christmas... just a few days late.  It was such a pretty snowfall - big, fluffly snowflakes that just floated in the air.  It was nice to stay inside and try my new hot chocolate mix - salted caramel hot cocoa.  Yum!  When I was little, I used to put saltine crackers in my cocoa - I loved the combination of sweet and salty, and still do!  My family thought I was nuts. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!  We have just had rain and more rain lately, so this field of snowmen picture made me smile.  Enjoy the holidays  ♥

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Thumbprints

I received some of these cookies at a cookie exchange last week - they are so good!  I think they're pretty too.  I used a seedless strawberry jam and drizzed with a glaze of powdered sugar and milk. 


3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fruit preserves, any flavor
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and egg yolks. Mix in flour a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Place balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Use your finger or an instrument of similar size to make a well in the center of each cookie. Fill the hole with 1/2 teaspoon of preserves.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saltine Toffee

This one is easy!  And you may even have everything you need in your pantry.

  • 4 ounces saltine crackers  (not exactly sure how many I actually used)

  • 1 cup butter

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.

    In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread t cover crackers completely.

    Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces.

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Pizzelle Time!

    Or I should say "waffle time", as my dad calls them.  My house officially smells like the holidays - the sweet licorice smell of anise is lingering.  My electric pizzelle maker was one of the best bridal shower gifts I received and I've used it now for the past 8 years.  I always make the traditional anise flavored waffles and sometimes will make a different flavor such as chocolate or maple. 


    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    More Gift Ideas!

    This time from my brother's shop, which features hand-turned wood creations -->> Woodhawk Gallery.  Gift ideas include beautiful bowls and vases from exotic woods.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    It's not too late! ... Holiday gift ideas

    It's December 6th and not to late to purchase from my ETSY shop for your holiday gifts --> Sweet Bird Designs.  Below are a few ideas..... I'm also able ship directly to the recipient, so keep that in mind too!

    A beautiful set of navy blue freshwater pearls.... I love the color of these pearls!

    Brown and blue and a great combination.  Blue Kyanite gems, freshwater pearls and smokey quartz items:

    And who doesn't love creamy pearls?

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Hostess Gift

    Just showing off the flowers my mom brought over for Thanksgiving!  I think hostess gifts, no matter how big or small, are always a welcome touch!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Gift Idea: French Rolling Pin

    I love these rolling pins! Made of solid Maple Wood, they are smooth and easy to roll. I use mine often for rolling out dough for pepperoni bread. They are easy to clean up too - just wipe down with a damp cloth or a little sudsy water.

    A perfect gift for anyone on your list that loves to bake!  Available on ETSY at Woodhawk Gallery:  Link to Item

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    New Freshwater Pearl Earrings

    I've had the tv on tonight while listing new items.  I've heard ads for Kohls and Sears about their holiday sales this weekend.  I guess the holiday shopping season has officially begun! 

    I had some beautiful freshwater pearls and made some pretty earrings.  These are now available in my shop!

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Introducing.... Woodhawk Gallery

    I'm thrilled to introduce you to my brother's new ETSY shop:  Woodhawk Gallery.  He learned his woodworking skills from my dad, who is a retired industrial arts teacher.  Stop by and visit his shop!  You'll find bowls and vases in various shapes and turned from all different woods.

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Apple Dip ~ yum!

    I tried this recipe today and it's a winner and so easy!  This is the perfect fall snack.

    Apple Dip
    8 oz cream cheese, softened  (I used light)
    1 cup light brown sugar
    1 t vanilla extract

    Mix well with electric mix and refrigerate for a couple hours.  Serve with apple slices.


    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    New Pandora-Style Charms and Pendants

    Just listed!  Here are some new charms that fit the popular charm bracelets - Pandora, Trollbeads and Chamilla.  These also make a perfect pendant by sliding easily onto any chain.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Think Pink

    It's difficult to go anywhere these days and not see pink.  I was even in Lowe's Home Improvement store this week and saw light bulbs in pink packaging.  So, you know the lecture that's coming -- Early detection is key.  Get yearly mammograms and do monthly self-examinations.  My mom's cancer last fall was caught early with a mammogram and she is now cancer free!

    Here are some of my favorite pink items I've come across on Etsy along with links to the artist's shops.  Just remember... holiday shopping is right around the corner!  These shops have lots of great items!

    This pretty bracelet is by Little Green Room.  I love the combination of leather and metal.  Be sure to check out the other jewelry items - such cool designs and stampings!  

    I love the colors and textures of this scarf by Fritzie Froodles!  The shop is filled with other pretty scarfs and accessories.

    These hand-stamped spoons from Baby Puppy Designs are so cute and have such special messages.  You'll find more hand-stamped silverware and items in this shop. 

    The Pig and the Peacock has a shop filled with fun soap, including these pink ribbon soaps.

    God bless all of those affected by this disease.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011


    Aren't these just the cutest things!  I'm on the mailing list for Lowe's Creative Ideas Magazine and this DIY project was in it.  Here's the link to the DIY project on Lowe's Creative Ideas site:  DIY Mumpkins .  And while you are there, sign up for their magazine.  It's filled with great ideas for inside and outside of the home!

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Sneak Peak at Holiday Designs

    I know the leaves are just starting to turn, but I thought I'd give you a sneak peak at the snowflake earrings I've been working on.  Can you believe the holidays are just a few months away!

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Slider Style Burgers

    I received this recipe from a friend a while ago and I have to admit that I was skeptical at first.  But I'm so glad I tried it!  These are so good!  I usually make a batch and wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.  They're great to take for lunch with a salad or for a quick snack.

    2 pounds ground beef
    1 (1.25 ounce) envelope onion soup mix
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
    24 dinner rolls, split
    1/2 cup sliced pickles (optional)

    Cook and brown the ground beef in a large skillet; Drain and discard any excess grease. Stir in onion soup mix. Remove from heat. Stir the mayonnaise and Cheddar cheese into the ground beef mixture.  
    Lay the bottoms of the dinner rolls on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the cheese and beef mixture on the bottom half of each roll. Replace the tops. Cover with another sheet of aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray.

    Bake in the preheated 350 oven until the burgers are heated through and cheese melts, about 30 minutes. Serve with sliced pickles.

    *If I'm storing for later use, I make the sandwiches but do not bake.  Instead I wrap them in plastic wrap. Just heat them up in the microwave when ready to eat!


    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Pink Fling Luncheon ~ Hampstead, MD

    Last week I dropped a special item in the mail.  I donated a breast cancer awareness necklace to an event supporting the Wish Fund of Carroll Hospital Center.  If you are in the Hampstead, MD area, check out this luncheon!  It sounds like a wonderful time .... wish I was closer!

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Breast Cancer Awareness Necklaces

    I added 2 new necklaces to my Etsy shop this week.  These are perfect to show your support of breast cancer awareness.

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Banana Bread

    For the 4th of July I made a dessert that called for instant vanilla pudding.  When I originally went shopping, I mistakenly purchased cook-and-serve pudding mix..... Of course I didn't notice this until the morning of.  Thank goodness the local drugstore was open and had instant pudding.

    So when I came across this recipe for banana bread, I thought it was a great idea to use up some of my cook-and-serve pudding mix sitting in my pantry.  The original recipe called for shortening which I replaced  with butter.  It's a great recipe because it works well with whatever amount of bananas you have on hand.  I was a little skeptical of putting the bread in a cold oven, but it baked up very well.  This turned out to be nice bread, not too dense, but very moist.  The folks at work loved it!  

    Banana Bread

    1 3/4 c flour
    1 1/4 t baking powder
    1/2 t baking soda

    3/4 t salt
    1 (3 ounce) package of 'cook and serve' vanilla pudding mix
    2/3 c white sugar
    1/2 c softened margarine or butter
    2 eggs
    2 T milk
    1 to 2 cups mashed ripe banana

    Nutmeg and Cinnamon to taste (I use about 1 t each)

    Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla pudding mix. In a separate mixing bowl, beat sugar and shortening until light, scraping sides of the bowl often. Add the eggs one at a time, beating smooth after each addition. Mix in the milk.

    Add flour mixture and mashed bananas alternately to creamed mixture, beating until smooth after each addition. Pour batter into a lightly greased 8x4 inch loaf pan or into mini individual loaf pans.

    Bake in a cold, (non-preheated) oven set to 350 degrees. Bake for 50 minutes, then cover with foil to prevent burning and bake for additional 10 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the crown comes out clean. Leave in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool.

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Leather Cord Necklaces

    I've been working with leather cord and have a few necklaces listed in my Etsy shop.  I like the look of the pearls and gemstones with the leather.... kind of an edgy classic look!  All of them are made with genuine, high-quality Greek leather cord and sterling silver components. 

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Very Special People

    I received a request recently for a couple of necklaces for two very special people.  My customer was a nursing student and two of her instructors are oncology nurses in a women's breast health center.  Obviously I was flattered to be asked to make something so meaningful!

    When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall, I was over-whelmed with how she was treated by all medical staff - the receptionists, aides, nurses and doctors were incredibly caring and comforting.  I couldn't thank them enough for helping my mom recover.  These are all very special people!

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    I heart cherry tomatoes

    I planted 4 varieties of cherry tomatoes this year and am happy to have these little gems in shades of red, orange and yellow.  Other than tossing in salads, my favorite way to eat these is to roast.  Put them on a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 375 until they are shriveled.  I keep them in the fridge or toss them in the freezer to use later.  Here's a few ways to use the roasted tomatoes:

    • toss with angel hair pasta and sauteed garlic.  Top with parmesan cheese.  To make it even more healthy, use a multi-grain or whole wheat pasta. 
    • do the above pasta and add in kalamata olives and feta cheese for a greek version!
    • use as a bruschetta topping
    • toss a few in scrambled eggs

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    New Pandora-Style Charms

    I've been adding some new Pandora-style charms to my Etsy shop today.  I just love the new anchor and cowboy boot charms I found to work with! 

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Tipsy Toes!

    I love summer because I can paint my toenails all sorts of colors!  This is OPI's "Iris I Was Thinner".... love it!

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011


    One of our favorite games to play during the summer is cornhole.  My dad made our boards a few years ago and I painted them.  We've been practicing at night for the big games this holiday weekend!