Cranberry Sugar Cookies and Sleepy Time

When will I learn?  After writing and sharing the post, December's Golden Hours I knew the powers that be were saying, "uh uh, no, we are not done just yet with you..."   This is not a complaint post, it's just letting you know why I haven't replied to comments, linked, or stopped by.  I've been sleeping.

My recent posts were scheduled and I thought I was ahead, but when I started getting tired, really tired, I just chalked it up to the anticlimax after the surgery and the holidays.  It may have been.  My blood pressure was dropping 20-60 points a day.  I was so tired, I was sleeping straight through up to 17 hours a day, dragging myself to get up and try to eat a little and to take my eyedrops on schedule.  I didn't eat for a couple of days. Once I was up, I would fall back asleep on the couch.  I make a cup of tea and not have one sip, waking up 45 minutes later.

The good news is I think whatever was causing this is slowly going away.  I've been able to stay awake for more hours and my blood pressure is better.  I'm not one to run to the doctor, so I'm just waiting this out.  It's not narcolepsy, it's just some insane fatigue.  If it doesn't go away I will have the dr give his opinion.

In the meantime, here's a recipe I wanted to share earlier for Cranberry Sugar Cookies,  the cookie on the left.  They are stupid simple to make and I made them only once and the tray came home empty.  I liked them, too.      

  • 1 pkg Pillsbury Cranberry Quick Bread Mix
  • 3/4 cup  (1 1/2 sticks) I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or other Margarine, Softened
  • 3 tablespoons granulated (table) Sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In large bowl, combine Mix and Margarine, mix well, then shape into 1 inch balls.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
  3. Flatten balls with bottom of glass or your palm and sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake for 9-11 minutes or so.  Cool for a few minutes on the sheets before placing them on a cooling rack.
My changes:  I added diced walnuts to the Mix and also found the mixture to be too dry, so I added a bit of orange juice to get a better consistency.  You could add milk or water or orange juice, maybe even cranberry juice if you have it.  If you add a lot of liquid, you'd end up with pancakes!  Yummy, too.  Heat the griddle girls.  

I colored some sugar with red food coloring and sprinkled on top of the pre-baked cookies. When the cookies were cool I drizzled a bit of icing on top.

Icing:  Confectioner's Sugar (10X)
           A bit of room temperature Milk
           A bit of Vanilla Extract

Just add the extract to the sugar and a tiny bit of milk, stir until you have no lumps.  Adjust sugar and milk amounts until you get the consistency you want.

I'm not Sleeping Beauty, so I plan to visit and reply soon.  Enjoy the recipe!    I'll share the other two cookies in the photo in a future post.  Zzzzzzzzzz ♥

Polka Dots and Pearls My Mad Men Character

A quickie for "Mad Men" fans.  Have you seen my Mad Men character avatar?

If you want to make your own 1960's inspired version of yourself, visit Mad Men Yourself at amctv to make your own, free avatar.  It's easy, quick, and you hear a little swinging 60's beat while you are selecting the options to make your own digital paper doll.  This is for the "suits" or the "skirts" with lots of features.

The office gang at Sterling Cooper Mad Men
the newest avatar for New End Studio is from Mad Men

I'm the bombshell in the yellow dress with white polka dots,  wearing pearls, and carrying a red pocketbook!  Okay, maybe not a bombshell.

I love my big hair and eyeshadow.  I've never made an avatar before and it was fun.  Some of the accessories wouldn't load properly, such as the gloves wouldn't fit over the arms.  I would've liked to change the shoes, but that wasn't an option.  Gotta have lots of shoes if you're going to be a Madison Avenue Woman!

Sorry, Don, can't stop and chat- I've got the pitch for the next preview meeting!

Are you a bombshell, the girl next door, or career girl?  Combination? This is only make believe.  

I searched through the ads at Found in Mom's Basement to put together these collages of vintage ads from the late 1950's -mid 1960's.  She posted some gorgeous fashion and cosmetic ads,  as well as numerous other categories of vintage ads, but I chose the ones that makes you go, "hmmm" or laugh.

Sexist.  Outrageous.  Stupid.  Funny.  Look at the details on the Durkee French Fried Onions coupon- I never wanted to think of onions and paint/chemicals coming from the same company.  I've only had these onions once or twice, what about  you?  Click the collages to enlarge.

Do you have a favorite of these ads?  

December's Golden Hours

Not counting my eyes, which are now doing very well (yay) and hopefully will be in good shape into the future, December sped by with a few bumps in the normal rhythms.  Golden Hours.

Go to the bottom of the post to click on the video-lovely music-  and then come back up here to continue reading.

While I was living on tenderhooks thinking about surgery and possible outcomes the furnace broke- it was repaired the same day, but boy is it cold to wake up to a house with no heat in the middle of a cold December.  One thin wire, about 14 inches in length was the culprit.

Lucy needed extra care and attention for a painful ear infection- her ear is all better now, unfortunately I found out she has cataracts in both eyes.  They're small, but it wasn't news I wanted to hear.  Anyone know if there are any foods or lifestyle choices to help Lucy's cataracts grow very slowly? She just had her 11th birthday on December 15th.

Yarn Wreath was Coca Cola showered and broke into three pieces. A little soda goes a long way when it's airborne.  You can picture that, soda all over the walls and floor, what a mess.  Thank goodness I was out of the direct hit on that one. lol  Scrubbed 3x- stains still there.  Wall painting next week for someone...  

I didn't see this one coming:  with the new healthcare bill, our prescriptions are going up in price by 300%, that's right, a whopping 3 times more than 2012.   Then, to add insult to injury, the cable company sends its annual, "your rate is going up" letter, this time they blamed it on Congress.  What?!

But the mother of all breakdowns was the refrigerator on Christmas night.  With a freezer full of uncooked food, bags of veg and assorted other foods- well you can imagine.  I spent most of the 26th cooking and baking what had thawed.   One recipe I came up with was a chicken and hot sausage stew/gumbo with spinach, carrots, and potatoes.  That was nice and hot after shovelling snow.

The bright side is that it has been so frigid and snowy that we haven't lost any food.  It's out on the deck and we have to go back and forth in the cold, but that's better than the alternative; it could've been summer and we'd have bags of ice to buy and pour off the melt; plus me worrying about the insects, chipmunks, and squirrels coming through the doggie door and finding the food.  This is as close to camping as I ever want to be!

The repairman made it here on the 27th, we had a snowstorm on the 26th so no one was going to come that day.  He said the compressor would cost more to replace than to buy a new fridge which should be delivered on the 2nd.

(It was delivered and we are now back to normal fridge wise.)

If that's the worse to handle for a while, I'm very grateful, either way, I'm thankful.  I hope that the beginning of January and the new year will bring hope, comfort, and relief  to everyone dealing with hardships, especially Sandy Hook families, Superstorm Sandy survivors, and  people needing encouragement and help.

I'll leave you with the poem, "The Flower" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

Once in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower,
The people said, a weed.

To and fro they went
Thro' my garden-bower,
And muttering discontent
Cursed me and my flower.

Then it grew so tall
It wore a crown of light,
But thieves from o'er the wall
Stole the seed by night.

Sow'd it far and wide
By every town and tower,
Till all the people cried
'Splendid is the flower.'

Read my little fable:
He that runs may read.
Most can raise the flowers now,
For all have got the seed.

And some are pretty enough,
And some are poor indeed;
And now again the people
Call it but a weed.

Tell Me Your Favorite

A quick question, "What is your favorite necklace length?"  As a teenager in Junior and Senior High School I liked chokers and the really long necklaces that went nearly to my waist.  Not wearing jewelry every day in those days, but a classic look was rare and would be something closer to 18 inches.  These days,  I prefer 20 inches or a few inches longer depending on  style.

Do you like a short or long necklace?  New End Studio Blog

So, tell me the exact length you are most comfortable wearing, it doesn't matter if it isn't readily available. Would you consider a standard length and use an extender or shorten-er?

If you like a 21 inch length or a 24 inch, maybe a popular 18 inch, or any other number, just let me know in the comments.   I have a plan for this info and will let you know at a later time.

Thanks for helping me out with this! 

Sneak Peek from Magic Love Crow

Around October of last year  Stacy of Magic Love Crow changed her blog around a bit, including getting a new blog header.  Stacy is a generous spirit, sharing her art on many giveaways, giving shout outs to other bloggers, and being an all around lovely person, artist, and devoted daughter.  She's a wealth of information on gardening, too.  But, most of you already know that about her.

I try to curb my enthusiasm, curiosity  and general wonderment of things- at least in the last couple of years, can't say that I have always been this subdued.  Which leads me to the point of this post.  I left a comment on Stacy's blog about a post and asked if her header was new.

Well, Stacy had a secret giveaway surprise up her sleeve.  She sent me an email and let me know that I was the first person who commented on her new header.  I'm glad I asked!  It only took me about a month, but you can blame that on my eyes- they're good now, so as well as noticing new blog headers I am seeing a lot of things that now need cleaning at home, lol.

Stacy's giveaway is a painting, custom made for me.  I hemmed and hawed about the subject matter,  because I've never had the opportunity before to have an artist make a painting just for me. After thinking it over for a week or so, I conferred with Stacy and shared the idea I had.  Stacy sent me what she has painted on the background and I feel she has captured the magic of the moment.  I can't wait to receive the finished painting, I know it's going to be wonderful!

Have a look at Stacy's Etsy shop for a choice of her crow paintings in a variety of sizes and visit her blog to see the new look.  Once the painting is here, I'll share it with you!

Thank You, Stacy!

Never Giving Up, Craft Tries and Failures

A little glitter is okay by me, I don't go overboard.  Since it was for Christmas, I said to myself, "just try and make them."  So, I tried.  And failed.  But, hey, I don't give up and made them over and over.

In the thrift store there was a package of 3 bulbs, the kind you put on your string of lights.  It was missing the fourth bulb, but that was fine by me, cost:  a big 25 cents.

3 bulbs ready to be decorated
As you can see from this image, I masking taped out my designs and selected the glitter colors.  I've had this glitter for what seems like eons, so it was about time I used it.

The blue was going to look like stained glass. The red had tiny little masking tape stars, I used the little punch for those.  The other red was taped off in stripes.  I taped over the brass bottoms.

Craft Try #1 on DAY ONE: I used Elmer's Clear Glue and sprinkled, patted, and pressed the glitter onto the bulbs, and waited for them to dry.

Fail #1:  I must have pressed the masking tape on too tightly, as it peeled off along with all of the glitter designs I had created.  It was a sorry looking mess.  Plus, the glue would not thoroughly dry.

Craft Try #2 on DAY TWO:  Having cleaned off the glue and glitter, washed and dried the bulbs on DAY ONE I decided to paint the bulbs to see if they needed a rougher surface for the glue to adhere and dry. Then I had a break for tea and Y&R, giving up on having the designs.

Fail #2:  The paint wouldn't dry on the bulbs. So I didn't get to put the glue and glitter on them.  I again cleaned, washed, and dried the bulbs and left them to cook dinner.

Craft Try #3 on DAY THREE:  The next morning I used Mod Podge on the bulbs and glittered them in a solid, except for the tip of the red one which the silver glitter had stuck to.

3 light bulbs glittered
DAY FOUR:  I used Ultimate Crafter Glue to hold the jute string that I wound around the bases of the bulbs.  After that was dry I hung the bulbs with ribbon to dangle in my window above the kitchen sink.  They catch the light and a tiny bit of sun.   The little teapot was also a  25 cent score at the thrift store!

Ta da.   

Do you know what is remarkable about this?  I didn't break any bulbs.  The little pink jar is from this post on coloring jars , another mish mash of craft tries and failures- is this a pattern?

There is a little yellow Sand Castle from Red Rose Tea and tiny winkles from an Irish beach in the jar.  I took a leaf off some fake flower stems and put a matching green rubber band to hold it to the jar.  The seashell on the sill is from Cape May, NJ.

Are you a giver-upper when/if you have Craft Fails?  Or, do you just work it until something is satisfactory?

Santa's Surprise Delivery

Two Succulent Sisters giveaway Christmas terrariumSanta delivered a present to me from a blogger friend, Linda.  I was lucky to win her giveaway for a Shabby Chic White Terrarium.   It's gorgeous, what can I say?  It makes me think of tea parties and antique shops, playing dolls as a little girl, and dressing up with jewelry and Mom's high heels.  It's doilies and lace and everything nice.

Linda was terrific in mailing this to me. She also included 3 Handmade Reversible Ornaments, a package of Snowglobe Stickers,  a card and an Andes mint that Lucy sniffed out, but did not get to eat, lol.

Linda, "THANK YOU!"  I have the terrarium sitting on a table and I am mulling around in my mind what to put inside it.  There is a collection of sand castles and a bowl full of seashells- I thought they might look nice inside.  Or, maybe a couple of souvenier dolls and knick knacks.  Or, maybe I should start from scratch and go to the dollar and thrift stores for inspiration.  Linda shares lots of crafts on her blog and she has used dollar store items many times.  Recipes, crafts, and lots more to inspire on her blog.

Check out the elf  who picked my ticket and here is the terrarium on her Mom's mantel decorated.  Linda and Carol are blessed to have their mom, who is 103, yes, 103 years old and still active, sewing, baking, and with a genuinely lovely smile.
Two of the ornaments above my kitchen sink.
Two Succulent Sisters, Linda says it better than I can, "Hi, my name is Linda. Years ago my sister, Carol, and I read the book, Succulent Wild Woman by Sark. The book inspires all women to be WILD enough to be themselves and to enjoy life to it's fullest. Since then, we joked around that we are wild succulent sisters and thus the name of my blog Two Succulent Sisters was born. This is my blog about my love for art, creativity & daring to do DIY projects. I invite you to browse around, and with the added talents of my family, see if we can inspire you to be Succulent & Wild too!"

I'd love to have a walk round her "Junk Garden."  The pink bike is so lighthearted and fun, and the statuary and whatnots bring a smile to a stress filled day.

After the Sandy Hook School murders Linda was inspired to make 26 angel paintings and put them on the roadside at the way into the town.  You can see her post with images, "Angels of Newtown" here.   A labor of love.

Thank you, Linda!  I am delighted with the terrarium and know it will be a reminder to me of your talents, kindness, and generosity of spirit.

If you haven't visited Linda's blog, I hope you will.