Monday, December 27, 2010


My daughter gave me this lovely tea cup and saucer for Christmas. She found it at Anthropologie. I knew I had to take this gorgeous set out into the sparkling fresh snow and photograph it. I love it! This print will be in my etsy shoppe soon!


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Heart of Christmas

Something happened today at my house that made me cry. For weeks I have been scurrying from task to task, with emotions high and low and every spot in between. In the midst of my day, as I was busily crossing things off of my to-do list( that was growing by the minute), my son took me aside and pulled something from his pocket. It was his shiny silver ipod that he uses for his work-outs. He asked me if his older sister, who is home visiting, ever got the ipod that she has wanted for awhile. I said that she hadn't. He then went on to tell me that he would like to give his ipod to her. He had erased all of his music and set it up for her use. He didn't wrap it and he didn't wait for Christmas, because she has to go back to work before then and won't be with us on Christmas day. He said to me that he didn't have money to purchase a gift, but her wanted to give her his ipod. I cannot tell you how that exchange melted my heart. I'm sure her heart was touched and I know it made his Christmas to be able to give her something she has wanted for awhile. A gift given from his heart. A gift given with sacrifice. A gift given with thoughtfulness. Today my son reminded me of what Christmas is all about. It's not how much money you have to spend on those you love. It's not the fancy wrapping. It's love reminiscent of that first Christmas when God sent His Son. It was a gift given from God's heart. A gift given with sacrifice. It was a gift given with thoughtfulness to our need of a Savior. May this Christmas bring you deep joy! Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The upcoming holidays are my favorite times of the year! I love that warm and cozy feeling I get when my kids are all gathered at home and we can spend time relaxing and being together! The best gifts we can give each other are unconditional love and ourselves. I also love making gifts for my extended family. I hope they see my heart in the hand-crafted items that I so carefully create with them in mind. Here are some of the pretty Iridescent glass ornaments I have been making for my etsy shoppe! They are filled with bits of angelic vintage tulle, snippets of vintage books and sheet music. Bits from antique books filled with beautiful old fonts. I shook in some real mica flakes and some glass glitter to give that snowglobe effect. I also added one sweet little Victorian shoe button in each glass orb. Each time you turn the ball a bit you glimpse a different bit of days gone by. I just love them! They were hard to photograph but you get the idea! They are much prettier in person! As you begin preparing for the beauty of the season, don't forget to love each other and remember the reason we celebrate! God has been so good to us!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Layers of Flowers

I have been dreaming about these flowers for just about forever. I started coffee/vanilla staining the coffee filters several months ago and I tucked them away for a later day. I recently visited a sweet paper shop in Nashville and saw some similar flowers. Then I went to Anthropologie and saw some different paper blooms. Sometimes ideas need to percolate in my mind for awhile before I actually get out my stash and attempt to create what has grown to be a dream in my imagination. I didn't have a tutorial and I had only my creative instincts to go by. After several hours of snipping,distressing, and of course TWEAKING....voila! Here they are and they are lovely! There are layers upon layers of coffee filters,vintage tulle,tissue from vintage sewing patterns(love the graphics),slippery vintage satin and finished off with laces and an antique mother of pearl button. What I especially love about them is that the more you scrunch and fluff them the more gorgeous they become! My sweet daughter will definitely be getting one of these in the mail for her adorable apartment! It's so fun that we share many of the same tastes! I just love that girl!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Crumb Coffee Cake

I love Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting, Pumpkin Roll, pretty much anything Pumpkin. When I came across this recipe in the latest All You magazine, I knew I would be trying it. We were having guests for a meal on Sunday and I needed a dessert. I followed the directions exactly and it turned out absolutely delicious. Monday morning came and I knew that there was a large piece wrapped in Saran Wrap sitting on my counter. I got the children off to school and had a little smile on my face as I made myself a cup of nice strong black tea and reached for the Pumpkin Coffee Cake. I looked around and realized that it was GONE! I knew who had done it! My six foot tall, high school senior had snagged it to take with him to school. After my initial selfish disappointment, I smiled even more. It made me happy that my son loved it enough to grab it on the way to school. I asked him about it later that night. He rolled his eyes with pleasure at how good it had tasted. I knew I had found a keeper of a recipe! Honestly, you need to try this! It's THAT GOOD! By they way, it tastes even better the day after you bake it. It's so moist!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1. Make topping: In a bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add butter and combine with fingertips until mixture is crumbly. Refrigerate while making batter.
2. Make cake: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, pumpkin, vanilla and both sugars until well mixed. Whisk in eggs. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined; do not overmix. Pour batter into cake pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved topping.
3. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack at least 20 minutes.
Nutritional Information
Fat:13g (sat 4g)

The Sparrow at Starbucks

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.
For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing.
It was a fun, low-pressure gig.I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.
After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked.
"No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?"
To my delight, she accepted my invitation.
"You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?"
"Well. ? do you know any hymns?"
Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one."
"Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one."
"Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?"
My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one."
She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing.
Why should I be discouraged?
Why should the shadows come?The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.
I sing because I'm happy;
I sing because I'm free.
For His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me. Holy moment!
When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!"
But the ovation continued. I embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!"
"Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said.
"Why is that?"
"Well . ?" she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song."
"Really!" I exclaimed.
"Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."
I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence.
"Are you going to be okay?"
She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine."
She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.
Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.
God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs, everything's gonna be okay.

Copyright © 2001 by the author or Christianity Today International/Today's Christian magazine (formerly Christian Reader).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumn Treasures

I love this time of year. I love the crisp air, the feel of the warm sun on your face. It's great to wear jeans and sweaters again too. Nothing like a hot cup of tea and some homemade soup in the crock pot. For 10 years I lived close to the Adirondack Mountains. You just can't beat the colors of fall there. I also miss warm homemade Cider Donuts made from freshly pressed cider and dredged in cinnamon-sugar. MMM! I found this sweet little muffin tin at my favorite thrift store. It was calling out to me to fill it with some Autumn inspired treasures. These are the shabby little treasures that almost jumped into the tin! It makes me smile.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Last night, I decided to be brave and go out again. I carefully avoided that particular storm drain and had a wonderful walk. It was 80 degrees with a nice strong breeze. I reminded myself that there may not be many more nights as perfect as this one! As I am finishing my walk, I look down to the street corner under the lamp and what do you know! There are TWO raccoons sitting on the corner! He has friends! Bold as you please, sitting there, waiting for ME to saunter past their "home". No thanks! You can have your corner and your little underground home. I will not be walking by you anytime in the near future! You still are very cute, but I will give you some space! So, what do you think? Am I brave or a big scaredy cat?LOL

Night Walking

This summer I have been enjoying walking around my neighborhood at dusk or shortly after dark. I find this clears my mind, gives me opportunity to pray for my friends and family and burns off some extra calories. I enjoy listening to the night sounds and seeing the cozy lights in my neighbor's windows as they are settling down for the night. I live in a very safe little town and I have no fear of walking. I grew up in NY so I still have my street smarts about me and I do carry my cell phone. Once in awhile, I will text my dear daughter a loving thought as she is beginning her night shift as a nurse in a big city hospital. I enjoy seeing the houses that might be FOR SALE, having a few friendly pups yip at me from their post on their porch,and pass a few other night walkers like myself. All was well, until one night last week when IT happened. I was just about to turn a corner and head for home when I see something out of the corner of my eye. Under a street lamp, I see a furry, ringed tail scuttle down into a storm drain. Growing up in the country, I say to myself,"Oh, a cute little masked fellow."I have always defended raccoons as being cute and cat-like with their little masked faces. I know they can be pests but I have always thought them endearing. No problem, I think to myself. But, I decide,well maybe, I will walk another block and not get too near him. The thought of rabies doesn't really set well with me. As I pass quietly by the storm drain, I get the feeling I am being watched. So I slowly turn around,and there he is! Mr. Masked-Man is in his little drain, but he is watching me VERY closely. I walk a little faster and keep looking over my shoulder. He continues to watch me with his little face sticking out of the drain and his chin resting on his little paws. "Well, he is cute. I will give hime that." I say to myself. I might have said it out loud, just to comfort myself. So I walk for another block and turn towards home. I look from a distance and can now see him clearly under the street lamp. He is sitting outside of his storm drain, looking down the street at me. I'm sure he is! I wish I knew what he is thinking!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beatrix Potter~Enjoy with a cup of tea


Fall has definitely arrived in the Midwest! Crisp nights with temps down into the 50's and sunny days in the low 70's. It is my favorite time of year. I find it comforting to wear jeans again and cardigan sweaters. The only part I dislike about the season is knowing what season comes next!
I have a crabapple tree in my backyard. The woodpeckers have drilled it's bark and it's not the healthiest tree but it's beautiful for about a week or so in the spring with soft pink blossoms. But right now, it has dying leaves and little red apples that are very hard. I have made crabapple jelly before from these little apples and it is very good. I have included a recipe with elaborate directions for you to give it a try too. It tastes especially good on toast with a cup of hot tea! Enjoy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vintage Wedding Greeting Cards Have Arrived

They're finished! My sweet bride and groom photos are now mounted on Wedding greeting cards. They turned out so lovely! The cards are a heavy card stock in a soft french vanilla. They have deckle edges on the card and envelope. I just love the antique feel that this gives the cards. I lightly "kissed" the edges with a rich antique gold ink. I added a rich twine that is cream and gold. These just fill me with joy! I hope you love them as much as I do. Actual photographs mounted on these high-quality cards come with matching envelopes and are packaged individually in a clear glassine sleeve. Shipping for the first card is $1.50 and each additional card is only an additional $.50.  The newlyweds will love these unique cards! They were so fun to create. I hope you love them! HUGS.
You can find them in my etsy shop!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Time Keeps Flying

Time doesn't stand still! When I was younger it seemed like summer was never-ending. Because my birthday is in August, right before school would start, the approach of fall was always exciting for me. I would have new birthday clothes to wear to school!
Now that I am the mom and my kids are the ones returning to school, I have mixed feelings. Where did the summer go? Did I play enough? Will my kids have fond memories of this summer? You cannot go back and have a re-do but you can always begin creating new memories.
 I was at my parent's home this summer, and I was visiting my dad in his garage. Many wonderful things are created there! To say it's cluttered is an understatement but my dad knows where everything is, and I can honestly say, I have inherited some of his pack rat personality. I discovered a treasure in my father's garage! A BEAUTIFUL OLD CLOCK! There it was, sitting amidst the tools of his trade. I admired it and he told me the story of how he came to be the owner. To make a long story short, it's been in the family many years and now he possessed it. I loved the patina and the color of it and the graphic details. I am very sentimental and my dad knows this. He said, "you can have it." I was stunned and I said, "No, Dad. It's yours and you should keep it." He proceeded to insist on giving it to me and I almost cried. It's so beautiful and I will treasure it. It was given in love because he knew I would treasure it. It is a fitting reminder today to me of how time flies! Whenever I look at this clock, I think of my parents and the special moments I spent with them this summer. I also think of my children and how my time with them is flying by! They are my life and I love each one of them for their uniqueness and because God gave them to me as precious gifts from His hand!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Perfect Marriage

When I found this sweet pair at my favorite shop, I just had to take them home. Many years ago, I'm sure they sat atop a sweet wedding cake. Sadly, over the years, the groom lost his head, quite literally, for his bride. He was lovingly repaired and looks nearly perfect. I really enjoyed photographing them. I turned them this way and that way and snapped so many pictures. They seemd to enjoy the attention after all these years of sitting in a dusty china cabinet. They filled my heart with joy as I looked upon their round little faces. I wonder what the original bride and groom are doing today. I like to think that they are holding hands still and have weathered life's storms together. I'm sure that these two little cuties have some stories to share. Don't you wish they could talk! I am in the process of creating some greeting cards using photos of this adorable bride and groom. Be watching my etsy shop!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Amelia's Wallet


I'm a little timid to begin blogging because so many of you have such gorgeous photos and such professional sites! So I am dipping my toe into the water and learning as I go! You can find me on etsy. I am mysparrowsnest. I love buying and selling on etsy! I love telling people I come in contact with about etsy if they have never heard of it. My college age daughter's friends think her mom is pretty cool for having an etsy shop! That's sweet music to my ears!