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North Carolina is in the middle of an ice storm.  At least that’s what I’m calling it. There is nothing but ice on the grass, stairs, driveway and everything else in sight. It’s pretty, but it  makes you want to stay home.  Until the neighbor texts you with “the wine is flowing.  Come up!”  And just like that I am out the door.  There’s something about a weather event.  It’s the one thing we experience together.  I’ve always paid attention to the mood right before inclement weather arrives.  There’s talk among us, almost giddy talk.

I walk to her house, just two homes up the hill.  Her husband warmly greets me and points out that all the women had the sense to take their shoes off INSIDE the door while the boys and men took their shoes off on the porch. Was there a choice?

From there, I move into the kitchen to see my neighbors from down the street (4 houses away) with glasses of wine, sweatpants and smiles.  Instantly I know I’m in for a good night.

The husband suddenly perceives that his place on the couch next to his wife is now very much outdated.  He moves across the room so the women can tell their stories and drink their wine. And that’s what we do for the next hour until the pizza comes.  We talk and laugh and share those stories.

It starts with my 9 month old poodle, Ellie.  A broken leg.  I’ve spent all week trying to keep her from gnawing at her bandages and away from her very hyper boyfriend, Max, our toy fox terrier.

My friend then shares the sad news that her guinea pig, Snickers, died this week after a prolonged illness.  There’s the half mast flag, missed school and funeral that includes a color guard.  Her husband shouts across the room that the children missed more school for the guinea pig than for their grandmother’s funeral. Naturally, there’s yet another pet story.  Families have plenty of them.  Her cat of 13 years (maybe more) died at Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving??? How did we not know this?  She gets off the hook though. She had her fourth son in December.

It’s times like these that make me appreciate community.  We all need it. Especially during inclement weather.

Here’s to neighbors. Stay safe.  Call on one another.  It’s a good thing.

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Made this Vintage-Looking Hair Clip for 45 Cents

This is a follow-up to last night’s blog about button and bead clips.  It’s my first crafty blog experiment.  I’m sure I won’t be getting any prizes over it, but it’s fun and worth trying.  I suspect I’ll improve with practice.

Here’s the clip after I applied the buttons, beads and fabric glue.

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Here’s the clip before I did anything.  I like the unadorned look, too. Definitely has it’s place.

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Here’s how it looks in my very short pixie:

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Since Emerald Green is the Color of the Year, I thought I’d experiment with some fabric glue on another clip.

Here’s how it looks now.

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Hmmm, just in time for St. Patrick‘s Day.  You can pick up everything, but these old buttons from AC Moore   I’m sure they have some cool buttons there, too.  Or maybe, like me, you have a button collection worth perusing.

Here’s all you need:

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The clips come in a package of six for $1.99 The string of beads cost $1.00.  The buttons are free.  My daughters love this idea.  It’s easy enough for them to make their own.

Try it out!  I’m sure many of you are waaaay more crafty than StephieLou.  I’d love to see your results.

Old Buttons and Bead Barrette

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Found some old buttons from my mother-in-laws collection.  I tossed them in with some beads ($1 at AC Moore). I love the emerald green one in the middle.  It’s surrounded by teal. Needs some oyster shell color in there.

I’m going to try to make a button and bead barrette for my new pixie.   I like a lot of things, but the glue gun I ambitiously bought 15 years ago was just used this weekend and the whole experience was out of I Love Lucy.  I am not super crafty, but I love repurposing things that would otherwise sit in a tin for another 50 years.

I bought these clips for $2.99 (AC Moore) on Saturday.   I’m thinking about turning it into a vintage, beaded and button barrette.

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I”ll post the results tomorrow.   I’m not promising perfection.  There’s Martha, there’s Lucy and then there’s me, StephieLou.  Somewhere in between.


Vultures Warming Their Wings

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Our neighborhood cannot get rid of them.

It’s a bit creepy sometimes.


The Most Delicious Scottish Shortbread in History

I have a weakness.  It’s butter.  If you like butter as much as me, then I have no doubt you will also love this “buttery goodness” (my daughter Zoë’s words).  You can see why.

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I’ve been making these for years.  Once again, it’s another shared recipe from a woman named Helen Bradley.  She used to bring these into work years ago.  I think they lasted about one hour.

Here’s her original recipe from our company cookbook.  I haven’t’ strayed from it at all.  IMG 5233

This is all you need.

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I only use Gold Medal flour.  It’s worth the extra 50 cents.  There’s a reason they’re still around.

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The butter.  Somehow it doesn’t seem as bad for you with that happy cow.

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Toss all of those sticks in the mixer.  Don’t feel too guilty.  You can cut very small squares.

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Add the sugar.  It’s only a cup!

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If your butter gets stuck like this, let the mixture sit for a few minutes.  It’s not softened enough.

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Mix until the butter and sugar have fluffy tips.

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Add the flour.  One cup at a time.

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The dough should look like this.

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I spread the whole thing out with a spatula and then even it out with my fingers.

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Have fun with that fork.   Put in the oven and bake until golden, about 30-35 minutes.

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This looks a little more golden than I would like, but the result is delicious.  Do not go darker than this.

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Cut into squares right away.  I use a pizza cutter.  Much faster.

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Serve warm with a cup of tea OR coffee.  It seems anti-Scottish to suggest coffee, but it’s a great accompaniment, too.  I do not drink coffee and never will, but I try to be progressive.  Hope you like.


Bluest Sky

Bluest Sky

This was taken with my iPhone 4s. No filter. No flash, no help from anything. Just a picture taken on a Sunday afternoon walk through my neighborhood.

Sunday’s Quote

“Love is life.  All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.  Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. “

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

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"Color your world."

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