Sunday, February 28, 2010

Taking "Baby Steps" ....

The four of us always loved to go to the Smoky Mountains.  We would go several times a year...it was one of Amber's favorite places.  She always looked forward to going ... afterall it was hard to take a wheelchair to the beach.  Wheelchairs and sand do not go together!  So going to the mountains was always a nice little get away for us being about 3-1/2 hours away.  We had planned on taking Amber in August last year ... but she went to Heaven instead a few weeks earlier.
So this weekend we took "baby steps" ... my husband, Jennifer and I went to the mountains for the first time without Amber with us. With Jennifer getting married in June we decided we needed to make a trip with just the three of us before she marries.  It was very emotional at times.  We stayed at the same hotel we have stayed at since it was built a couple of years ago...just not in a handicapped room...it was so strange to me.  I will post later this week about the hotel where we stay.  It is called the Christmas Inn and it is decorated for Christmas year round.
The Smoky Mountains were snow capped and beautiful.  Just gorgeous!

Another view of the mountains.

We always drive through Cades Cove to see the deer and nature all around us.

It is one of the most serene places on earth.

It was getting dark when I took this picture of just one of the many buildings and homesteads of long ago.

We enjoyed our trip but it was so different and strange without Amber with us ... but I do know one thing ... she was looking down over us. And she was definitely there with us in spirit.
God how we miss her!  Love you baby girl!

God Bless and thank you for visiting,
Donna


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quilt Class .... What Was I Thinking?

There has been a beautiful quilt hanging in the quilt shop I love to visit.  I had been intending to take the class for awhile now.  The last class was being offered on Tuesday and I signed up last Friday over the phone.  I have too many things going on in my head and I let the class slip up on me!  I received my instructions for the class late Monday afternoon through the mail (I didn't want to drive 30 minutes to pick up the instructions).  I had purchased the pattern about a year ago.  I cut the squares out late Monday night for my class Tuesday.
Here is one of the blocks I completed during the class.  It goes really quick once you learn to do it all by machine and not by hand.  That's why I took the class!

Another block ... these have NOT been pressed!  I am pressed for time right now :) 

This is the quilt pattern we used called Moroccan Tiles. 
I like the scrappy look of it ... I have plenty of scraps!

Pieces I have prepped and ready for additonal blocks. 

So now that I have learned how to do it all by machine I am going to pack it away until after the wedding.  I have to finish the wedding quilt and so many other things that involves planning a wedding :)
I loved the class and it was nice to get away and sew and always make new friends.

Thanks for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

Monday, February 22, 2010

Willard the Wabbit...

Isn't this the cutest face!
My husband named him Willard the Wabbit..

Jennifer brought this home to me last week.  She found him at HomeGoods.  She said when she walked in the door he greeted her and wanted to come live at my house.   I love bunnies!

He is all laid back in the cabbage leaning on his paw with his carrot thinking "what am I going to get into next?"
Isn't he just adorable?  Love him! He is actually a soup tureen.
She made my day bringing him home to live at my house and he loves it here too!

Bloggers have been asking about wedding plans ... Jennifer has been posting some of the details on her blog Wedding Bells and Fairy Tales.  Go visit and see the engagement pics, the Save the Date magnet and her wedding book she purchased and had monogramed with their initials.  We love everything monogramed in the South!
 And the wedding quilt is coming along nicely :)

Thanks for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cloche Party


Marty at A Stroll Thru Life is having a cloche party. 
I thought I would participate and show a few of mine.  I love cloches and they can be used to decorate in all types of settings.  I like that you can put anything under the dome and it looks great.

This one is in my piano room filled with antique teacups and saucers in a large cloche that is probably 14 inches tall.  This one has etching in the glass.


This iron cloche I have in my kitchen filled with faux fruit. 
 I love the little bird on top watching over the kitchen.
My husband gave me this one for my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I love it!  Found it at Hobby Lobby.


The little birdies in this cloche are waiting for spring...just like me!

Closeup of the little birds with their nest. 
I purchased the birds at Michaels a few weeks ago for $1.19 a piece. 
Love a good buy :)
Too cute and I love the color of them.

Thanks to Marty for hosting the party and please go by and visit the other participants.  I am sure you will find some great inspiration.

Thanks for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wedding Quilt Update...

If you read my blog you know my youngest daughter Jennifer is getting married in June.  I have been working on a quilt for the bride and groom.  I asked Jennifer what kind of quilt she wanted and I gave her some options ... first being the double wedding ring quilt.    She said she wanted something different ...secretly I was glad...I have only made a few blocks of the double wedding ring pattern. 
So this is a picture of what I am working on.  I have fussy cut so many roses and hung them on the wall and stood back and looked and looked again and again!

 I think I am finally happy with what I have decided on and now I am off to my husband's "manly room" to lay it all out on the carpet (actually where the cats won't run through it and scatter it) and begin sewing it all together.  Gotta get busy ... the wedding is in June!

Thanks for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day


Fourteen Days of Love - Day 14 - Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't know where I would be today without my sweet husband.  He has always been there for me during the good times and the sad times.  And I hope he feels the same ... I know he does :)
During our nealy 33 years of marriage we have rarely argued.  We married when I was 18 years old and he was 20.  We were so young!
When our daughters were born we knew love like we had never known before.  The birth of a child will change your hearts forever.  Oh it did!  When Amber was born she was the light of our lives!  Two years later Jennifer was born and another little angel was in our life!  Two adorable little girls and two best friends. 
My husband has always been the best daddy in the world.  He would do anything for his two little girls.  They have always had him "wrapped around their little fingers".   Anything they ever wanted him to do he has done for them.
Now Jennifer is getting married in June and Amber is in Heaven and our lives are changed forever.  Oh how  we miss Amber and in June the wedding will be bittersweet without Amber here to share the "big day" with us.  We do know she will be looking down on us from above :)
We are so happy Jennifer has found "Mr. Right" and hopefully one day we will be grandparents.  What a great day that will be!
We do know that "love is a many splendored thing". 

Thanks for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Plan Your Escape...


Brambleberry Cottage's Fourteen Days of Love
Day 13 - Plan Your Escape

I have never been much of a traveler.  I am pretty much a homebody. 
There have been several places I like to go and would not mind going again maybe for a weekend escape.
We went to the Biltmore last September and stayed at the Biltmore Inn.  It is a beautiful place to visit.

The Biltmore Inn...beautiful grounds.

I took this picture out of our room at the inn of the Biltmore Estate.  It is several miles away...a gorgeous place to visit!
Another view of the Biltmore Inn where we stayed.  I could imagine a romatic weekend there.


And we have also stayed many times at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.
It is a magnificent place to visit!
These is a picture from our room overlooking the gardens.
Lush landscape everywhere you look! 
Gorgeous atrium rooms overlook the gardens.  After I posted this picture I realized that young lady is Jennifer coming back from the pool :)  I spotted her from our room and took her picture!

There are huge waterfalls inside the hotel.
There is a watershow seveal times a day we always enjoy and there are several restaurants inside the hotel we love to dine at.

My family has many memories the times we have stayed at the hotel.  We have visited many times during the summer months and twice for the Country Christmas.   I could easily spend a romantic weekend there too!

These are just a couple of places I enjoy going to and we will visit again one day soon.

Thanks for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fourteen Days of Love ... Day 12


Brambleberry Cottage's Fourteen Days of Love


Day 12 Romancing the Palette

Do you have a favorite place to dine for special occasions – or the menu for a romantic banquet
 to serve at home? What makes it romantic?

I think every event and holiday revolves around food in the South. 
We always have food whenever there is a gathering. 
For Valentine's Day we may go eat somewhere the day before, but never on Valentine's Day... it's just too crowded for me.  I would rather have a grilled ribeye steak that my husband cooks, baked potato, a salad, warm bread and something chocolate for dessert!  Gotta have my chocolate :)

I asked my husband what he wanted for Valentine's Day and he said to bake him something. I am going to bake Chocolate Lava Cakes.  They are wonderful with vanilla ice cream.
I know who is going to lick the bowl :)

Here is the recipe...

Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate or 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease 4 (8-ounce) ramekins (custard cups or souffle dishes). Place on a baking sheet.

2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwaveable bowl on High 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and confectioners sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and yolk. Stir in flour and pour batter evenly into prepared custard cups.

2. Bake 13 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 10 minutes. Carefully loosen edges with a knife. Invert cakes onto serving plates and sift powdered sugar over the top. Serve immediately.

These are super easy and so quick!

Thanks for visiting and God Bless,
Donna



Thursday, February 11, 2010

Colors of Flowers and One More Hug...

Brambleberry Cottage's Fourteen Days of Love Valentine Party


Day 11 - The Perfect Gift

Many people think of roses and flowers as the perfect gift. 
I love to receive flowers and know certain colors of flowers represent different meanings.  I did some research online and came up with these colors of flowers and what they represent.

Red represents beauty, courage and, of course, love and passion, making it the perfect flower color for Valentine's Day.

Pink is for innocent love. Pretty, flirty and delicate, pink flowers symbolize grace, happiness and youth.

Purple has been known as a regal color.  Purple can also signify love at first sight, so send that special someone violets or purple roses when you want to show you care.

Yellow is the color of sunshine, representing all that is joyful, happy and new.  Yellow flowers are to show friendship and to cheer someone up.

Blue flowers can express your sympathy, say "I'm sorry" or even soothe the pain of someone who is hurting.

The color white is associated with religious occasions like weddings, christening and funerals.




This picture was taken last February...oh how happy I was having my picture taken with Amber and Jennifer.
If I could receive the perfect gift this year it would be one more hug from Amber who I miss terribly.  I did not know a heart could hurt so much.  As her mother I do know she received the ultimate gift when she accepted God as her Lord and Savior.  Just thinking about her in Heaven and knowing that we will be reunited again helps me make it through each day without her here with us. 

Give all your loved ones a hug and tell them you love them!

Thanks for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

 


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flower Power...

Brambleberry Cottage's Fourteen Days of Love Valentine Party

Day 10 is Flower Power

My husband gave me Valentine flowers early.  He thought I needed something to cheer me up.

This is what he gave me...


The plant is called an Anthurium.  I always like something for Valentine's Day to keep and enjoy later.  The plant sits in an iron chair that is a planter ... it is too cute.
The back of the little chair is heart shaped as well.
Look at those red sparkly butterlies dangling out of the plant and the huge red bow! 
I have it placed on our fireplace hearth.

A closeup of one of the butterflies.

Isn't he the sweetest!

Thank you for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sweets for the Sweet


The Brambleberry Cottage's Fourteen Days of Love Day 9 - Sweets for the Sweet

I love to bake especially in the winter when the weather is cold outside.  I love the smell of something baking in my oven.  Yesterday I baked Chocolate Mini Loaves.  I really like to use cake mixes for quick baking.  I had a german chocolate cake mix in the pantry so this is what I made...




I didn't want to wait on a bundt cake to bake.  I needed chocolate really quick so I baked mine in  four mini loaf pans in about 30-35 minutes.  It was warm right out of the oven when I took this picture. Yummy!
This is the recipe I used...


Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 package chocolate cake mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil  (I use canola oil)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Mix cake mix, eggs, sour cream, warm water and oil in a large mixing bowl.  Mix well scraping the sides with a rubber spatula.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 min.

This is very easy and quick to prepare.  I could have made a glaze for loaves but decided I didn't need one.  The loaves were delicious as they came right out of the oven.

   
Thank you for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

Monday, February 8, 2010

Must Love Pets...

Brambleberry Cottage's Fourteen Days of Love
Day 8
Must Love Pets...

This is one of our cats.  She loves to blog too!
Her name is Flip.

Look at those adorable eyes.  This is when she was a kitten.   Always into something!   She can always make me smile!

Thanks for visiting!
God Bless,
Donna

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fourteen Days of Love ... Day 7


Brambleberry Cottage's Fourteen Days of Love
Day 7 Kid Central - Crafts, Projects and Games

I remember when my daughters were in elementary school each year they would decorate a white paper bag with drawings, construction paper, colors, markers, glue, etc., so each classmate could drop their Valentine cards into each child's bag.  They would always have fun doing this project. What child doesn't like construction paper and scissors?  I still have these decorated white bags stored away in my closet after all these years :)  Every child in the class made one and then they always had a party with cookies or cupcakes.  I was always a "room mother" who helped and planned parties on every holiday.  Oh how long ago... makes me feel old!

  
Every year I would make a special Valentine dessert either cookies or cupcakes and they would decorate them.  I wish I had one of these right now! 

I searched the internet and there are all kinds of ideas for Valentine's Day crafts and games.

The first week of the Fourteen Days of Love has been fun. 
Please visit Brambleberry Cottage and see what the other participants have come up with for their first Seven Days of Love.

Thanks for visiting and God Bless,
Donna

Saturday, February 6, 2010

You Are So Crafty... and I Won!

Brambleberry Cottage
Fourteen Days of Love  - Day 6
Oh.... You Are So Crafty



This a quilt block from a quilt I made with hearts.  The hearts are all in pinks just perfect for Valentine's Day.  It is a very colorful quilt. The fabrics are Quilt for a Cure for breast cancer research.  This was made several years ago.  I have so many quilt tops that need to be quilted!

And I won a giveaway at Sweet Bee Cottage.
Sweet Bee has the cutest blog, please go by and visit her.
Sweet Bee was having a "spa" giveaway and I won!   She sent me the fuzzy spa socks, the bath fizzy and the book "Chin Deep In Bubbles" by Melissa Plazcer.  It is so much like Susan Branch.  Sweet Bee even wrapped the book in Susan Branch paper and tied it with a green gingahm ribbon!  She also included a card with a beauty tip.  I definitely need all the beauty tips I can get right now :)

This book is just delightful to read.




Look how the pages are illustrated! 
This page has the five minute manicure and I need that right now!  Lots of good stuff!  I am really enjoying it!  Thank you Sweet Bee!


And...
 I was the first follower of Hunted Treasures  a new blog that features two sisters who live thousands of miles apart. 

They had a gift packaged in the box with balloons for my birthday!  What a great idea!


Their first follower was the winner of this Valentine tassel.  It is huge and I have it hanging on one of our master bedroom doors.  It is just beautiful!  Look at all the ribbon.  Love it!

They also included this cute sachet and tissue holder.  The sachet smells like yummy strawberries and I have really need the tissue holder today! Thank you ladies so much :)
This picture would not download correctly.  Just look at it sideways...I am sorry!  I have tried for an hour! UGH!! Thank you ladies for this sweet gift. 
Everything came on my birthday ...  you all perked me up when I saw my packages at the front door!

Thank you for visiting and please visit the other participants in the Fourteen Days of Love.
God Bless,
Donna