Thursday, October 29, 2009

Show and Tell Friday - Mary Engelbreit

I have always been a huge fan of Cindy's Romantic Home blog.
This week I decided to join the fun. 
Thank you Cindy for hosting this fun weekly event.
Please visit and see what others have to share.


I have always been a fan of Mary Engelbreit. 
I thought I would share a sampling of her items I have collected or been given over the years.
I have too many to take pictures of all of them.  My sewing room is full of Mary Engelbreit pincushions.  I will share those with you another time.


I cross-stitched this in 2002 and it hangs in my kitchen. 
It was my inspiration piece for my the colors in my kitchen.



This is actually a cookie jar.  I have never even put a cookie in it! 
I know you are supposed to use what you have, but I am so afraid I will break it!


Cherry plates and the chair is a salt and pepper set.  Too cute!


I collect teapots and this is one of my favorites.
Can you tell I LOVE cherries!


Would you believe this is a planter? 
 I don't have the heart to put a plant in it so I keep it in my sewing room to store thread and needles.



This is a miniature teapot with cherries all over it.
Even the little handle is a cherry!

Most of these items were given to me by my angel Amber who is now in Heaven.  She knew I loved anything Mary Engelbreit and she searched the internet looking for items to buy me for Christmas, Mother's Day or my birthday.  Being confined to a wheelchair she did most of her shopping online.
I cherish each item she gave me with all my heart!

Thank you for visiting!
I love to hear your comments.
Blessings,
Donna

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Planning a Wedding

In my previous posts I have told you about Amber my Angel in Heaven. 
This is my youngest daughter Jennifer.  She came home over the weekend with this "bridal veil" with Minnie Mouse ears from Disney World!  The ears are perfect for her!  Her soon to be in-laws sent them to her.  I couldn't decide which picture to post so I posted both.


She was recently engaged in August after waiting for the perfect guy for her.  They are adorable together! 
She is 28 years old, although she doesn't look it.  She thought she would NEVER find Mr. Right.  I always told her "he" would come along at the right time.  Only God knew the plans he had for her.  Jennifer went through 4 years of college and 4 years of pharmacy school.   She thought the perfect guy would come her way.  Surely she would meet him in school!  Of all the guys she was surrounded with I thought she would find her "prince charming."  Wrong!  She always had guys that were interested in her but she had certain "credentials."  It was 2 years later at the pharmacy she was working, when Mr. Right came into her life. 
I know God sent him to her at the right time.  If not for her prince charming, I don't know how she would be handling the passing of her sweet sister Amber.  Her one and only sister and sibling.  They were very close to each other as sisters should be.

Jennifer had always planned on Amber being her maid of honor in her wedding one day.  She was going to decorate her wheelchair and have someone wheel her down the aisle.
Jennifer wanted to do something different to ask her bridesmaids to be in her wedding.  She came up with a poem  and we printed and cut them out on my Silhouette digital cutter I use in scrapbooking.  Purple was Amber's favorite color so we used purple paper and Jennifer decorated all of the dresses with the saying.  The dresses will be purple or should I say eggplant? 
Both my daughters have collected Precious Moments for years and I gave Jennifer the bridesmaid figurine dressed in purple with dark hair just like Amber.

When I ordered Amber's Birthday Celebration cake at Edgar's Bakery, Jennifer saw the frog cookie and that was how the idea came about.   She had kissed the frog and found her "prince charming".

Jennifer has started a blog:
You will have to go to her blog to see the dresses closer to read the saying. It is a cute idea.  I wish I had thought of it! (not really)  While you are at her blog read why she chose the location she chose.

Now we are in the process of planning the wedding and it is bittersweet. We know that Amber would have been thrilled and excited for Jennifer.  She is looking down on us from Heaven and she will be there in spirit.

Thank you for reading.  I love to hear your comments.

Blessings,
Donna

Friday, October 23, 2009

Amber's 30th Birthday Celebration of Her Life


As I wrote in a previous post my dauther Amber had purchased her "Big 30" birthday scrapbook and stickers for her upcoming birthday on August 30, 2009.  She unexpectedly passed away on July 24 several weeks before her 30th birthday.  I was determined to use the scrapbook and stickers she had already purchased.  I knew she would have wanted me to.   We knew it would be a difficult day.  We decided to have a celebration of her life.  We asked everyone to bring a birthday card or a favorite memory of Amber. 
We invited family and friends and asked everyone to wear something purple - her favorite color.   We took pictures of everyone who attended so I can use them in her scrapbook.

Here is the Angel!
This is a picture taken last summer (2008) of us just "goofing off" with a crown someone had given Amber's sister Jennifer.  I will treasure this picture always.  I never knew at the time that this picture would mean so much to me.  Amber was always treated like a princess!



This is a table I set up with a basket near the front door for guests to put cards and memories in for her scrapbook.  Amber collected Precious Moment figurines so I purchased the ones she had on a wishlist for her birthday.  The picture is her prom picture in 1998 - wearing the color purple!  There is her crown in front of her picture! 


We had Amber's favorite cake from Edgar's Bakery in Birmingham.  The cake was huge!
I should have taken the plastic wrap off the brownies before I took this picture.  Of course we had all of her favorite fruits.


I prepared light snacks - chicken salad served on croissants, pasta salad, veggies and a cheese ball that Amber loved.


Here is a closeup of the cake.  It was just like I wanted - sunflowers, bees and ladybugs all of Amber's favorite things.  Everyone thought it was too cute to cut.  It was delicious!


Amber loved sunflowers.  I placed vases of them with mixed purple flowers on each table.
I made matching tableclothes for each table in the color PURPLE!


This is a plate I had purchased before she passed away.   It says "Today it's all about You".
 I only wish now I had given it to her when I purchased it so she could have used it. : (


Another picture of Amber and her birthday Precious Moments and her crown.


Balloons for her gravesite.


I purchased two sunflower stakes from Hobby Lobby and placed  them on both sides of the sidewalk to hold balloons, however it rained some that day and the balloons did not float at times.  They were still welcoming to guests.


We released 30 balloons in very bright colors for each year of her life. 
We had a special prayer for our  Angel in Heaven. 



This is Amber so happy a few months before she passed away.
 I will cherish every picture I have of her! (I have thousands)  Despite her disability, she always had a smile on her face.  She made the most of each day.  We miss her terribly!  We do know she is in Heaven out of her wheelchair, walking again and we will see each other again one day.
She was such a lovely, sweet, caring young lady.

I can't bring myself to begin the scrapbook just yet.  It may take me a few more months to do the scrapbook, but I will DO it in honor of Amber.

Thank you so much for reading about Amber and maybe she has inspired you too!

Blessings,
Donna

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chicken and Bean Soup Buffalo Style



Rhoda with Southern Hospitality is having a Recipe Party and I thought I would share this tasty easy soup that was published in our local paper a couple of years ago.
It was one of Amber's (my daughter who recently passed away) favorite soups.  I couldn't bear to make it until Saturday when her best friend came by to visit.  I decided it was the perfect time to make it and remember how Amber enjoyed it every time I prepared it.  I hope you give it a try.

Thank you Rhoda for hosting this fun party!  I recently met Rhoda and she is as sweet and gracious as you would imagine. 
I can't wait to read everyone's recipes.
Please visit all of the other participants at http://southernhospitalityblog.com/


Chicken and Bean Soup Buffalo Style

2 t. oil
2 T minced onions
1 can (4 ounces) chopped mild green chiles
2 T McCormick’s Buffalo Wing seasoning mix
2 cans (16 ounces each) Northern beans
1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack/ Colby cheese
1/3 cup prepared ranch dressing

Saute the onion in the oil until tender, but do not brown. Stir in chiles and seasoning mix. Add beans, chicken and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle bubble. Cook for about 10 min. stirring occasionally. Add cheese and stir until melted. Stir in ranch dressing. Serve warm with cornbread or tortilla chips.

Thanks for visiting,
Donna

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Biltmore Estate




This week I am participating in
Susan's Outdoor Wednesday at  http://asoutherndaydreamer.blogspot.com/.
Susan thank you for hosting this weekly event.

We recently visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.  It is a beautiful place to visit.
It is the largest home in America.  Here are a few pictures of some of the gardens. 
As you can tell it was a gloomy day when we visited.


It is a magnificent to place to visit. 
It has 43 bathrooms, 33 family and guestrooms and 65 fireplaces!


I loved this waterfall with a bridge.


Gorgeous hanging baskets.


Fields of sunflowers!


Roses galore!


Plants everywhere!




Huge plants! 

If you get a chance to visit the Biltmore Estate and grounds you will not be disappointed!

Thanks for visiting! 

Donna

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Remembering Amber

I hope you read my previous post about my daughter, Amber who passed away on July 24 rather suddenly.


I knew God would not give me more than I can handle, but I did not know how I, my husband and Jennifer would make it through Amber’s visitation and funeral. So many people came to the visitation and stood in line 45 minutes to an hour just to let us know how much Amber meant to them. She had been such an inspiration to others. Amber never complained about what she couldn’t do, she always made the most of every day. The most touching thing about her was her big blue eyes and her big contagious smile. She touched many hearts in her nearly 30 years on this earth. So many people from high school she had not seen in years came to pay their respects and to let us know what a sweetheart and a trooper she had been all through school. Many of her classmates had seen Amber go from a normal active young girl to being confined to a wheelchair in a few short years.

The day before the funeral Jennifer, my sister and I went to buy Amber new clothes to wear to be buried in. She of course had a closet full but she had to have something new! Jennifer picked out a top just like she had worn several weeks prior which Amber had liked and of course the color was purple. Purple was Amber’s favorite color. We found the same top in Amber’s size and both my daughters had on the same top at visitation. We all wore purple (yes even my husky husband wore a purple shirt for Amber) for the visitation. When they were younger I had always sewn their clothes and most of the time they were dressed alike. They were so close in age many people thought they were twins. I thought this was so sweet of Jennifer to want to be dressed like her “big sister” one last time on this earth.

Jennifer had mentioned that she wanted to speak at Amber’s funeral. I thought to myself how could she do this? When her heart was hurting so much over our loss she wanted to speak? She is a very eloquent speaker and has a gift for speaking, but I did not know how she would make it through it. I was doing good to be there in the chapel much less get up and speak in front of everyone there. Jennifer got up after our pastor spoke and after she spoke there was not a dry eye in the chapel. She spoke of childhood memories and how sassy Amber could be at times. She spoke of what loving parents we had been and how God had called Amber home to his Kingdom to live with him until we all meet again. She spoke of how we would live for Amber and God would get us through this difficult time. I was so proud of her. She is an amazing young lady!

During high school Amber met an amazing young man her junior year of high school. They became instant friends. He has a sister that is deaf and he knew what living with a disability was like. He was the best “guy friend” Amber ever knew besides her Daddy. Her friend knows sign language and he signed the song “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. It was so beautiful and touching! He speaks so eloquently with his hands! I know it was very difficult for him to stand there and sign the song but he did it to honor Amber and her precious life. After Jennifer spoke and Amber’s friend signing the song everyone was touched that these two young people that loved Amber so much and were hurting so much inside had the courage to get up and do what they had done. It was God giving them the strength to do what they thought they should do for Amber. Jennifer said she felt a calm come over and it was if God was there by her, comforting her.

It has been a very difficult 12 weeks since Amber went to Heaven. My husband and I are taking one day at a time and know that God is good. We are lonely in this house and often do not know what to do with ourselves. Jennifer lives about an hour away and recently became engaged which has helped with our grief. We all have good days and bad days as everyone does but I will always have my faith and no one can take that away from me.

Thank you for reading Amber’s story and maybe she has touched your hearts!

I would love to hear your comments.

Donna

By the way, Jennifer has started a blog - WeddingBellsandFairyTales.blogspot.com  it is listed in my sidebar.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cookies and a Quilt Top

Here is a sampling of two things I love.

Homemade cookies...


I decided today I would bake cookies.  I love to bake and I like to make things simple.  What could be easier than making cookies from a cake mix.  These are made from two flavors of cake mix.  I used what I had on hand - a butter cake mix and a German chocolate cake mix.
They are so simple!  People will think you baked all day, but they only take a few minutes.  Just don't tell!
Here is the recipe if you want something quick and easy. 

Cake Mix Cookies

Vanilla Dough:

1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, beaten to blend
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Dough:

1 (18.25-ounce) box devil's food cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, beaten to blend
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Dough preparation:

Beat cake mix, oil, melted butter, egg, and vanilla in large bowl until dough forms.

Chocolate Dough preparation:

Beat cake mix, oil, melted butter, egg, and vanilla in large bowl until dough forms.

Cookie preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Scoop 1 teaspoon of vanilla dough into ball. Scoop 1 teaspoon of chocolate dough into ball. Gently press dough balls together, then roll gently to form one ball. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, spaced evenly apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or just until cookies begin to brown. Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to cooling racks and cool completely. Repeat with remaining chocolate and vanilla dough, forming about 6 dozen cookies total. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

And a homemade quilt top.
 


This a quilt top I need to quilt or have quilted.
(I should have pressed it before I took this pic)

It is called Autumn Ridge in the book Best of Black Mountain Quilts by Teri Christopherson.
It was very easy to sew together. The blocks are log cabin blocks and made of scraps. The only thing I stressed about was the placement to make sure the colors looked like a fall ridge.  

Of course around my house you can't take a picture of a quilt without a cat on it! 
This is Flip in the picture.  She has to be the center of attention when the camera comes out!  I have to admit she is photogenic!  Yes, Flip is a female.  Long story!

I hope you try the cookie recipe and thanks for stopping by.
 I really need to go sew!

Donna

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This week is my first ever time to  participate in Susan's Outdoor Wednesday at http://asoutherndaydreamer.blogspot.com/.  Thank you Susan for hosting this weekly event!

I love gardening along with many other hobbies.  I thought I would share some of my flowers in my backyard.


The leaves are falling everywhere!
It rained AGAIN before I took these pics.


This is my topsy turvy  planter.  I love the way everything cascades over each pot!


This is a sunflower I bought at Hobby Lobby to "perk" up this pot of flowers this time of year!



This is sweet potato vine and vinca.  I love the bright green of the vine with the bright pink in the vinca!


This is one of many hanging baskets I have scattered around the yard.


It took me forever to find the perfect table and chairs I wanted for my patio.


Another basket hanging on the fence.


I am not sure what you call this - I love it for the color!


And my mandevilla is still blooming!

I hope you enjoyed a small tour of my backyard.  It's my own little piece of  Heaven!
Thank you for visiting,
Donna


Monday, October 5, 2009

More Fall Decor...


This is in a corner of my kitchen.  I love pumpkins and all the fall colors.


The sunflower planter I found in a shop at the Biltmore House when we visited there a few weeks ago. 


This is a Jim Shore Autumn basket I purchased last year.  I love all of the details he puts into his work.  Even the little pieces of fruit and veggies are so detailed.


This is a towel I picked up at the Dollar Tree and machine embroidered pumpkins on it.  I wish I had five more and I would use them for napkins on the table.


This pumpkin I made last year from leftover quilting scraps and other projects.  I hope to make a larger one this year to go with it.  It needs a buddy!  I better hurry and get busy!

I hope you enjoyed some more of my fall pretties.
Thanks for visiting!

Donna