Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cookies Day 7 - NoBake Peanut Butter Balls

Today in NOTL:  A beautiful day, with a high of 52F/12C and rainy.  Lovely!

Here in Canada, happiness is in the news, as on Friday the Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards released their findings regarding, among other things, the happiness level of Canadians.  They discussed the various factors determining happiness and decided that one town had more happy people than another, ranking them according to their scale.

We regard happiness as elusive, hard to find and hard to keep.  I don't believe that.  I know that I am a happy person nearly all the time; others, with some frequency, indicate their surprise that I am or regard it as extraordinary that I am happy despite challenges that include restricted mobility and pain as a constant companion.

In the news, too, has been the story of Rachel Friedman who has responded with courage and optimism to a life challenge that would have me raining curses on life, others and probably God as well.

Happiness is easy.  All you have to do is look at the love in your life.  What is it you love?  Focus on it - whether it is another person, a beloved pet, a good book, a treasured collection, a favourite hobby, whatever. When we focus on the people, things, and activities that fill us with love, happiness follows.  It is that simple.

Art for today is a happy little bird that made me very happy when it came out as well as it did.  I hope the recipes that follow will make you happy: they need no mixer, no flour, and no baking!  Even better, they are truly delicious and make great gifts, packaged in decorative tins or jars.

NoBake Peanut Butter Balls
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered milk
Add ins:
 1/3 cup coconut, nuts, raisins, chips, etc.

Roll balls in cocoanut, icing/confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, sprinkles, etc.  You can take a tip from the recipe below, you can also dip 'em in melted chocolate!

Stir together well.  Form into balls.  Store in covered tin.
Recipe can be doubled.

If you don't like honey, you can try this recipe instead:
Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls
1 16-oz. jar peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1-lb. box powdered sugar
1 to 2 bags chocolate chips  (Tip: these candies, dipped in melted peanut butter flavoured chips, are to-die-for!)

1.  Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment, waxed paper, or foil. 
2.  In large bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar together in a large bowl.
3.  Roll into small balls.
4.  Melt chocolate chips.
5.  Dip candy balls into chocolate and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Place in fridge or cool spot to harden.
Yield:  5 dozen or more, depending on size of candies.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cookies Day 6 - Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Today in NOTL:  Chilly, with today's high looking to hit 45F7C under sunny skies with a cloud or two.

Yesterday Deb was installed as Archbishop of the Community Catholic Church.  It was a lovely ceremony, very small, as the church is quite small.  Lots of fellowship, lots of laughter, lots of love in the room!  I have very confidence that Deborah will do a wonderful job leading the church.  Go, Deb!

For Day 6 of the Cookie fest, I thought I'd share one of my own recipes, a favourite b/c it's so bloomin' easy!  I suppose this one belongs in the family of lace cookies, as they spread a LOT and have that lacy edge.  Even better, they don't call for any special ingredients, so you won't have to make a trip to the store for buttermilk or macadamia nuts or sanding sugar.

Now, these cookies are extremely delicious, so they don't last long.  IF there are any leftovers, they must be stored in a tin with a very tight lid, layered on waxed paper.  They are not kidding when they say 'store i a cool, dry place' as humidity makes the cookies stick together, so you might want to set that tin in the dining room instead of the warm kitchen.  If the cookies begin to stick, though, just separate them onto a cookie sheet and pop into the oven for a minute or two to recrisp.

Then again, having any left over to store is an iffy proposition!  And since these are soo easy to make - no mixer necessary, no bowls, no sifting and combining wets and drys and yadda yadda - you'll be able to get a batch from urge to splurge in a flash!  Trust me on this:  one taste and you will be a believer.

P.S.  No flour, so a great cookie for those with wheat sensitivities!

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

½ c. butter
1 ½ quick-cooking oats
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten well.

1.  Preheat oven 350*F.  Grease and flour cookie sheet.
2.  Melt butter in pan.
3.  Stir in other ingredients till blended.
4.  Remove from heat.
5.  Drop by teaspoonfuls 3 inches apart (these babies spread!)
6.  Bake 8 min or till well-browned at edges.
7.  Cool slightly, loosen, and remove.

Keeps 3 weeks in airtight container; separate layers by wax paper.
Humidity will result in sticky cookies.  Separate and rebake one or two minutes to recrisp..

When you remove them from the cookies sheet or parchment, you may find the edges crumble slightly.  Those crumbs are yummy on top of ice cream, yogurt, pudding, hot oatmeal, etc.  Or just toss the crumbs out for the birds!

Card of the day is a snow-covered evergreen, a little Christmas-y, but I got my first Christmas gift yesterday so I will call Christmastime officially begun...YES!  (And, yes, it is hand drawn and watercoloured.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cookie Day 5 - Plain Tea Cookies

Today in NOTL:  Cold, with 11:30 temps not tooo bad at37F/3C - but with winds at 24mph/39kph it feels more like 27F/-3C out there.  Hefty gusts, howling round the house and blowing the snow just about sideways at times.  No snow to speak of expected, just flurries.

Brr!  A cold day like today has me thinking of my Grandma's kitchen.  It was just a postage stamp of a room, just large enough for her tiny sink and a few cupboards, the eeeny fridge and stove, a  wee dinette set, and a rocking chair beside the stove.  That rocker was the best seat in her tiny house!

I remember visiting on chilly, grey days like today (minus the snow, of course!).  Her kitchen would be so warm and cozy and golden, lit by the one shaded light overhead.  Dad would say, 'How about some coffee, Mom?' and Grandma would say, 'Well, of course, cher!'

She'd put a pan of water on to boil and take her red and white French coffeepot and put a few teaspoonsful of coffee into the holder.  Then she'd set the coffeepot on the stove with a small ladle beside it and begin to rock.  As the adults spoke and the water sizzled in the pan, every now and then she'd ladle a tablespoon or two into the coffeepot and it would begin to drip ever so slowly through the ground coffee. Finally, when the coffee was done, she'd pour it out.

On cold days, I remember her kitchen and recall the smell of that strong coffee.  Art today is a cold-looking card from last year, appropriate b/c I'm feeling chilly as I listen to the wind and watch the flakes blow past my window.

This is a recipe for tea cookies, which went so nicely with the coffee.  They aren't terribly sweet, but they adapt to changes well.  Variations below.

Plain Tea Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups plain flour (All-Purpose)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Oven 400F.

1.  In large bowl, cream softened butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
2.  In second bowl, stir together dry ingredients.
3.  Add dry mixture to creamed mixture in portions.
4.  Note: dough is best refrigerated for 30 minutes or so.
5.  Roll dough on floured surface to about 1/4 inch and cut cookies with small glass.
6.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10- 12 minutes or till golden brown.

Orange or lemon cookies:  Add 1 tablespoon orange zest and 1/4 tsp orange extract to mixture.
Cherry cookies:  Add 1/2 cup diced marachino cherries, juice included to mixture.
Chocolate Pecan cookies:  Add 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans to mixture; drizzle with melted chocolate.
You can also frost these cookies and add sprinkles, coconut, etc.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 4 of Cookies - and what a cookie I have for you, dahling! Date Filled Cookies

Today in NOTL:  Cold!  Temps at noon are right around 32F/0C, with winds of 17mph/28kph making it feel a lot colder.  Sun and cloud mix, but thoroughly gorgeous outside!  In the forecast:  Snow!  They're calling for 25cm of snow tonight...which would be 9 inches, I suspect, doing a linear conversion.  That's a lotta snow!

Well, today is slated as a newsletter day, so I'll be busy writing.  If you haven't subscribed to the newsletter, I urge you to do so, as we're expanding it starting with the next issue.  You'll still get the angel messages which are exclusive to newsletter subscribers ONLY and not uploaded to the website, but you'll also have access to more articles, more information, and more helpful news you can use.  Subscribing is as easy as a click right here!  We never share emails with others and you can unsubscribe at any time, naturally.

Today's cookie is a filled date cookie.  Filled cookies can be time consuming - rolling the dough, dropping the filling, then pinching the cookie shut.  These are quickies, though.  Instead of all that rolling, these are drop cookies.  You simply put a dab of cookie dough onto the sheet, put the filling in the center, then add a bit more dough on top of the filling.  As the cookie bakes, the dough spreads and covers the filling.  And where the filling peeps out, it gets all nice and crispy!  What a yum!

This recipe calls for a cooked date filling, but don't let that scare you off.  Save time by using a quality fruit preserve you buy from your local grocer or gourmet shop!  Or, if you prefer, pick up some pie filling instead;  pop it into the blender or use a hand chopper to break up too-large pieces of fruit.  Mini-pies without the fuss!

This cookie has tons of possibilities.  Vary the filling, of course (chocolate bits and nuts!  mmm!), but consider topping the cookies with nuts, cocoa, icing/confectioner's sugar, drizzled choclate or streusel-like crumb coatings.  This one recipe can yield platters of different cookies, and it's so much easier than those super-mix recipes that start from a common base.  Enjoy!

Filled Cookies

2 cups dates, finely cut or ground
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 cup shortening
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Oven at 400.  Ungreased cookie sheets.

Cook ingredients for filling slowly, stirring constantly until thickened. Set aside.

1.  Mix shortening, brown sugar and eggs well. Add buttermilk and vanilla, stirring to combine.
2.  Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and add to shortening mixture in portions.
3.  Drop dough onto sheet, about 2 inches apart, and drop 1/2 tsp filling on each, covering the filling ith 1/2 teaspoon dough.
4.  Bake 400 degrees 10-12 minutes or till lightly browned.
Yield:  4-5 dozen cookies, depending on size.

Today's art is a card I did last year for a swap.  I'm thinking this might be what we awaken to see tomorrow morning, if the weathercasters are right!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cookies Day 3 - Choco-Cherry Bites

Today in NOTL:  Cold out there, with 2 p.m. temps of 37F/3C under cloudy skies with rain off and on today.  A gorgeous day!

At the end of this post will be the 3rd cookie recipe...yummy chococherry bites!

Today I am working on uploading some pear ACEOs to the Etsy shop, or trying to, lol.  It ought to be easy, but it is time-consuming and I keep making silly mistakes and having to start over.  Argh!

Still on my pear kick - I tend to get into ruts.  I do a card on beaches, and then here come a bunch of beach cards.  Or sunsets or poodles or whatever.  I try not to, but I pick up the brush and the next thing you know, I'm back into a rut.

Today's card is one I did a year ago.  I kept it for myself, actually, just because.  I thought the snow looked pretty good.

It's Thanksgiving in the US, and I watched the Macy's parade this morning.  It's so ingrained in my experience of Thanksgiving that as soon as I saw the first band, I could feel my holiday spirit perking up.  Hope you're getting ready for a great holiday.  Here is the cookie recipe I promised you, a lovely chocolate and cherry flavoured cookie that is great with the frosting but still yummy without.

Choco-Cherry Bites

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 to 4 tbsp. half and half

Oven at 350 degrees.
1.  Mix together all cookie ingredients EXCEPT the cherries and nuts, mixing well.
2.  Add in cherries and nuts, stirring to blend.
3.  Roll into small balls (my round tablespoon measure works great for making equal sized balls).
4.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
5.  Bake 10-15 minutes or till golden brown.

Combine all frosting ingredients until smooth.

Generously frost cooled cookies.  Yield: about 4 dozen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

24 Days of Cookies: Day 2 - Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

You thought I forgot, didn't you!  I didn't; I just wasn't on the computer with the cookie recipes on it!  So, for Day 2, an eeeeeasy one bowl, no mixing version of a favourite cookie:

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

Basic Directions:
1.  Mix together.
2.  Drop by teaspoonfuls (or whatever spoon you use for cookie dropping) onto cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick coating (or covered with baking parchment).
3. Bake about 10 minutes, till golden brown on edges.

- Peanut butter varies.  I find cheap peanut butter works really well in this recipe, but that's me.
- You may want to press with a fork and sprinkle sugar on the top of these, a la Mama's pb cookies of old.  Or you may just roll 'em in plain old sugar and press with a fork.  Or you can leave 'em lumpy.  Your call.
- Using all plain granulated sugar makes a nice cookie, but a mix of brown and white granulated sugars is also nice.  I like 50-50, others like a quarter-cup brown to three-quarters cup white. Again, your call.
- You can use chunky peanut butter for this recipe.  Yum!
- Or you can add chocolate chips, a la the pb cup we all love.
- I find it easier to make this recipe if you first stir up the peanut butter (I like stiff peanut butter for this recipe, remember) to loosen it up, then add the egg and sugar.  You want to mix it well, but even if you just throw it all together and mix at once, it comes out well.  Just takes a bit longer, is all.

These cookies are delicious and very peanutty, as you might expect.  If you want to make them for gifts, try rolling teaspoon or larger balls to a uniform size, press down with a fork or your fingers, and sprinkle sugar on them.  When they are cool, drizzle with melted chocolate and take a bow!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New New New - White Chocolate Pear Cookies

Today in NOTL:  Cold front coming!  Temp is dropping, and at 3:30sih we've passed our high with temps at 48F/9C and dropping.  Great Thanksgiving weather!

Big things brewing...Deb becomes an Archbishop this Sunday, presiding bishop of the Community Catholic Church here in Ontario, actually.  A great responsibility for her, and your prayers and support are appreciated. We're also planning changes to the newsletter, which will give us more scope for articles without making the emails so very loooong.  And...surprise!  I'm starting my 24 Days of Cookies EARLY!  This will give you time to try a couple out before the Christmas season is upon us.

Cookie of the Day:  White Chocolate Pear Cookies!!!!
I must confess to you:  I did not have a pear cookie in my recipe collection and I wanted to use a pear recipe since I have pear artwork to upload, lolol.  So I did a yahoo search and found this recipe on about.com.  You can find it here on the About.com network.

For convenience sake, though, I'm including it here:
They say it takes under a half hour to prepare.  You'll need to preheat the oven to 375*F and get out your cookie sheets, leaving them ungreased.
1-1/2 cups peeled, finely chopped fresh pears
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups granola
1 cup vanilla milk chips OR white chocolate chips

1. Cream butter, shortening, and sugar until light, using large bowl of mixer. 
2.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing till smooth. Add pears and stir to combine.
3.  Stir together flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  Add in portions to creamed mixture, beating until mixture is smooth. 
4.  Stir in granola and 1/2 cup chips. 
5.  Drop mixture onto ungreased cookie sheets using a teaspoon.
6.  Bake 10-12 minutes till brown.  Cool 2-3 minutes, then place cookies onto racks to finish cooling.
7.  Using microwave or small pan and low heat, melt the other 1/2 cup chips and drizzle over the cookies when they are conmpletely cool.
Yield: about 36 cookies

I think regular chocolate chips would be nice, too, or perhaps a butterscotch chip? 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Today in NOTL:  Cold, with noonish temps at 39F/4C.

As the holiday season begins, I am having the happy task of sorting through my cookie recipes for a project I have been wanting to begin for some time: Twenty-Four Days of Cookies!!!!  That is, twenty-four days of cookie recipes...

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a long history in the kitchen.  Back in the long-ago days of my childhood, children were expected to begin helping out around the house at a far earlier age than today.  As a result, I began helping Mama with cooking when I was around four.  Simple tasks, to begin - handing her a spoon, stirring something, getting the flour or salt for her. 

By the time I was in school, I knew how to measure ingredients; by age ten, I was mixing recipes with Mama supervising me while she completed other tasks.  I enjoyed our time working in the kitchen, but it was at holiday times that I proved my worth as budding cook, helping Mama put on our Christmas Eve spread.

Together we would pore over Mama's big green Encyclopedia of Cookery, choosing the recipes we'd make and serve.  Mama would purchase the ingredients, then I'd make the cookies, stuffed celery, and sometimes the hot miniature meatballs.  She would make the Date Roll herself, as it was a bit trickier than cookies.  Each year, I'd hear her telling my aunt which items I'd made.  "I'd never be able to do it without Jean," she'd say often.  With a busy household of seven, there was more than enough work to keep Mama working every minute even without the holiday preparations, so she appreciated my interest and willingness to help put on Christmas.

 I'll be sharing many of my favourite Christmas cookie recipes in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!  Art is a 2-inch watercolour.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today:  Cloudy with light rain off and on and a high of 41F/5C.  Lovely!

Boy, it's November weather today....I mentioned some time ago a poem about the autumn weather on the blogtalk show and have been meaning to post it.  I love both the poem and the time of year it describes. 

Anyway, today I'll post it along with a couple of cards from a Christmas themed swap I did.  I'm busily trying to complete a few swaps I signed up for so that I can begin doing pear cards, which I love to do.  I have a few trades pending, so I want to get them done as soon as I can.               

I hope you enjoy the poem!                                     
 November - by Thomas Hood
No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No sky--no earthly view--
No distance looking blue--

No road--no street--
No "t'other side the way"--
No end to any Row--
No indications where the Crescents go--

No top to any steeple--
No recognitions of familiar people--
No courtesies for showing 'em--
No knowing 'em!

No mail--no post--
No news from any foreign coast--
No park--no ring--no afternoon gentility--
No company--no nobility--

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

Monday, November 15, 2010


Today in NOTL:  Lovely day, with a high of around 52F/11C...gorgeous!

In this morning's blogtalk radio show, I a)thought it was FRIDAY (what a letdown!! lol) and b)alluded to a little story I told some time ago about my attempt to bring a little Martha Stewart into my life.  I'll post it again, for those who weren't around when I posted it the first time....

Martha Stewart, You Done Me Wrong!
So I'm watching Martha. She has, as always, something stunning to show us and it's so EASY to do at home....I am mesmerized: she is working with glitter and I'm instantly attracted to anything that sparkles so there I sit with tongue out.

"Just apply the glue," she says, showing how to put glue onto the bird. Well, I've had my glue problems in the past...but I am an optimistic kinda gal, so ok. "And cover the bird with this beyoooooTTTTTyful glitter...I'm using this lovely blue..." (here she dips an ice scoop into a Rubbermaid Tough Tote filled with about 25 pounds of glitter) "which is the exact shade of blue I saw in the baldacchino in a lovely old Italian church..." (She's scooping that glitter for all she's worth, which is to say: LOTS.) "It was actually the highlight in one of the flower petals and I remember saying to myself that we'd have to use that particular shade in something....and just shake off the glitter... Mine is called Baldacchino Italiano Petal Blue Glitter and is available at craft stores and Martha Stewart Online of course.... And there is our beyooooTTTTTyful bird, all ready for the tree. How simple but how very elegant..." The camera pans over a row of birds, from chickadees to fantasy birds with their various markings in different colours of glitter, all looking quite fabulous. Ok, I can glue, I can pour, and I can shake so I figure I'm in business.

I get out my ziplock bag of glitter. I have a bunch of glitters, all in small bottles, no two bottles filled with the same shade. Never having been to Italy, I choose a bottle of gold glitter which is the precise shade of gold that is used for glitter and sometimes those chenille stems. Martha and I obviously move in different circles, but fine. Not having enough to warrant using a mondo plastic container, I use a paper plate to contain the glitter.

Not having a 'dimensional bird' (translation: one of those bird picks you see at the craft store), I quickly glue some pieces of watercolour paper together and draw a few stylized birdies onto them. Noting that it is indeed a small bottle of glitter, I quickly paint the birds yellowish orange in case my coverage is not as full and thick as Marty's. Once they dry, quite nice and flat, I note with some pride, I am ready to roll.

I smear glue over one side of one bird and set it aside while I glue one side of a second bird. I open the bottle of glitter and the cap drops glitter all over my table as I set it aside. No matter, I reassure myself. I can shake the glitter off all the papers under my paper plate. I gently pour the glitter over the first bird and tap gently to shake off the excess. Most of the glitter drops onto the plate.

Uh-oh, I think. The glue has begun to dry! I grab the second bird and shake glitter, hoping that I am in time. Not exactly, though a large spot of glue has held a mound of glitter, making the bird look as though it has a goiter on its poor wing. "Medic!" I think merrily and try to flatten the bump.

Ah, the glue under the mound was wet and so my finger now has a glittergoiter on its tip. I carefully set the bird down on the plate and try to rub off the litter with a tissue. Hmm, that Aleene sure knows how to make glue, I think to myself, observing that my glittergoiter seems to have a rather large tissue flag attached to it. I rub it off with my free hand which has somehow gotten fairly sparkly itself. No matter. I press on.

I apply glue to the back side of bird one and glitter, emptying the bottle. Tap and set aside, I murmur gently but alas, having tapped with too-great enthusiasm, the glitter has drifted to my sweater and skirt. I lean over the plate and shake the fabric and a sparkling cascade of glitter and a few cat hairs settle onto the plate.

I take the second bird and quickly apply a bit of glue to the back and glitter it. By now I have emptied the bottle so I take a small piece of paper to scoop glitter from the plate. Ok, scoop is too generous a term; I'm scraping.

Returning to the first bird, and now a little concerned by the small amount of glitter left, I examine the first side of it which got such thin coverage. I'll put glue in the thinnest spots, I tell myself, and look for the paper onto which I've squirted the glue. I find it, eventually, stuck to the outer side of my hand. By now I'm getting a little worried but I do my best. Finally the birds are glittered ... not exactly to my satisfaction, but they sparkle.

I hand them to Deb for placement on the tree. She crosses the room to hang them onto the tree and the glitter catches the glowing lights on the tree. My birds sparkle gorgeously! I am thrilled and wait expectantly for Deb's reaction as she returns.

"You know," she muses, as she admires the tree, "maybe next time you could do stars or hearts instead of fish."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Teeny tiny itty bitty eeeeeny weeeeny ART!

Today in NOTL:  Blue skies, sunshine, and warmer temps today, with a high of 56F/11C and hardly a breeze outside.  Gorgeous!

Well, after my groaning attempts to get back into acrylics yesterday, I am in need of artsy self-esteem building, so today I will be back at miniature watercolours.  Gosh I love doing watercolour minis!  This time I'm making teeny pendants to wear or use for holiday ornaments.  We have lots of small Christmas trees, so we'll have them all on display for Saturday's official opening of the showroom space.  If you have a shop or are considering a party or just want to do some shopping for fabulous holiday gifts at bargain prices, stop in from 11a.m. - 6 p.m. and say hello!

We are getting feedback from the ladies who purchased items at the conference Deb did last weekend and it is such an affirmation.  We know the pieces are unique and one of a kind originals; the ladies who wrote said the same thing.  One woman reported the admiring comments she received as she wore her bracelet; the other said the friend for whom she'd purchased a gift was blown away by its beauty and artistry.

That's what makes craft shows and artisan shops so popular, I think.  People want to give gifts that are something other than whatever is on the shelf in every store across the country.  They want to give something that speaks to the relationship they share with the person who receives the gift.  They want to give something the person will not only receive with thanks but will delight them again and again, something the person will remember.

So many times we end up giving gifts that get forgotten.  'What did Veronica give you for Christmas last year?' someone may ask, and our eyes widen as we realize we have no idea. Or we'll look at something we own and say, "I think I got that for Christmas...from....from..." and we can't recall.

What we want to give is something unforgettable.  We want the person to think, when they put on the bracelet or pendant or angel or whatever, "Veronica's gift."  We want the person to wear it with pride and to say, "Oh, thank you!  My friend Veronica found this - isn't it beautiful!" when people admire it.  We want our gift to be a continual source of pleasure for our friends, because their friendship is a continual delight for us.

And that's what Deb's fabulous bracelets are - not only stunning, but unique and delightful eye-catching beauties.  The same is true of her angels and crosses and everything we offer, I hope, because each piece is made with joy and filled with the happy energies of appreciation and blessing.

Anyway, we're going to have light refreshments - yummies! - as well as good company and I'll be on hand to do mini-readings, which are always fun.  We hope to see a lot of new and old friends.  If you're in the area - or just like the idea of a day trip to shop and chat - come by!  We'll be delighted to see you!