2015: A Pretty Good Year Afterall


2015. Hmmm. . .  It started with snow. A lot. We played rustic in a tiny cabin. In more snow. 🙂  My family was healthy. George retired. Summer was idyllic. I learned how to preserve blueberries. Concerned about cut-backs at work, I promoted an online shop featuring quilts and assorted vintage collectibles. Even with some fantastically hectic days, I was able to fulfill holiday orders on time. I acquired a new past-time; walking through a nearby maritime forest, which has proven to be quite restorative from the weekday rush.  All in all, it was a good year. . . And it ended with humid, 80°F (27°C) weather. The botanicals are very confused.

My 2015 year in photo review:

cabin 1
Crabtree Falls, Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia


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Blackberry and Blueberry Jam

Only the ridiculous go blackberry or blueberry picking during 102ºF heat index weather. Right. So, what to do with buckets of plump, sweet berries? Share with family and friends, freeze for future recipes and . . . jam making! Here are two similar and easy recipes for blackberry and blueberry jam. Hope you enjoy!


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Removing Cigarette Smell from Wood Furniture

I found this American empire flame mahogany chest a few weeks ago – the perfect storage solution for our bedroom.  



Even with a few chips, dings and bruises I could tell it was well-made. The drawers are dove-tailed, hand-planed on the bottom and have original brass lock plates.




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Healthy Low-Cal Fruit Smoothie

Early mornings under the pergola, after a hard workout or as a quick on-the-go substitute meal; my family and I frequently drink variations of this smoothie recipe. Sometimes I leave off the flax seed oil or the mango (not my favorite). I use a “Ninja” blender; my daughter likes her “Bullet.” Any blender, as long as the frozen ingredients are finely crushed will work. Anyway, not a pretty colored smoothie, LOL, but tasty and refreshing. Let me know what you think. Enjoy!



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2013 Favorites

::<>::      Looking back on 2013      ::<>::

Another quick year gone. Is it because I am growing older that the years are flying? 😉

All the same, 2013 was a decent year. I dipped my toes, left my comfort zone. I was encouraged and I learned. I was inspired by some very clever folks, homegrown and professional. Here are just a few. Hats off and thanks to all of you (check them out!):

Old Pearly Jenkins


Hello Scarlet


For Those Who Love Dresses

Pretty Handy Girl


:: <> :: <> :: <> ::

. . .And then, some of my own personal DIY favs that made me happy:

DIY Vintage Rustic Outdoor Wedding
DIY Blended-Family Outdoor Wedding


Doggie Biscuits
Doggie Biscuits in a Jar Gift


Dream Art Workspace aka Craft Room
Dream Art Workspace aka Craft Room


What a year, right?  Thank you for visiting my humble blog. I look forward to another fantastic 365 days of sharing with you. 

May you have a happy and healthy 2014!

— Joanne

Last Minute Gift Idea: Doggie Biscuits in a Jar

My Phoebe Darling

We are a large dog-loving family. Between my daughters, sisters, mother and myself; we always have a pup or two under foot. Our family pups include Boston terriers, labs, Lhasa apsos and rescue beagles. Each holiday season I bake a lot of Chick-Beef Doggie Biscuits. This year I decided to batch the ingredients in a gift jar.  The recipe is pretty simple and the pups LOVE these biscuits.


2 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup steel cut rolled oats, 3/4 cup of canned beef consommé soup, 1/2 cup powdered low-fat dried milk, 1 egg, 3/4 stick margarine, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 chicken bullion cube.



Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then add the egg, margarine and crumpled chicken bullion cube to the dry ingredients until creamy. Slowly add the consommé soup (don’t want the dough to become too watery). Roll out dough 1/8″-1/4″ thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Bake at 350 F degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool for two hours. These biscuits last up to 3 weeks. Or, they may be frozen. Our pups like them right out of the freezer!



Layer dry ingredients in a quart size canning jar in this order: flour, oats, powdered milk, garlic powder, chicken bouillon cube. It’ll fit, you just have to tap it down a little. If there is too much room left over at the top of the jar, add a little more oats.



Quart size canning jar, doggie bone cookie cutter, holiday ribbon, gift wrap scrap, scissors, hole punch, computer generated gift/recipe tags and a candy cane (optional).



I created computer-generated recipe gift tags on the computer (which included the rest of the needed ingredients) and printed them out.  I traced the flat seal of the canning jar lid onto a scrap of gift wrap. This I cut out and inserted into the lid, then set the flat seal inside to secure it.  After using a small hole punch on the corners of the tags, I tied the tags, a doggie bone cookie cutter and a candy cane to the jar with colorful holiday ribbon. Thanks to The 36th Avenue for Desireé’s free printable gift tags found here!



Click on image to enlarge and print.

Dog Biscuit Recipe Tag