Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

"Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right" - Oprah Winfrey

I took these pictures this morning. I wanted to remember what the last day of 2011 looked like. The sun is actually shining through the thin clouds and it is very still and quiet, except for the birds. They are very talkative today.

Here is what they are saying:

"In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want."
Irish New Year Toast

These are my 'Glacier Pansies'. They are blooming their little hearts out. Even when it snows. All winter I have beautiful flowers.

It's important to surround yourself with beauty. Even if it is only a tiny pot of pansies.

Have you made any New Year's Resolutions yet?

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man" - Benjamin Franklin 

I like to look back on the old year and think about what lessons I have learned. Some people like to put everything behind them. I like to think back before moving on. I need to process things slowly. To put things in perspective. To see what could have been handled differently. Not to beat myself up. But to learn.

What is the past for, if not to learn?

Every experience makes you wiser if you listen to the message.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

This bright new year is given me
to live each day with zest
to daily grow and try to be
my highest and my best!

William Arthur Ward

This year I want to start a nature journal.

This year I want to exercise regularly and try harder to eat right.

This year I want to have more patience and gratitude towards my loved ones.

This year I want to be more forgiving and kind.

This year I want to start a vegetable garden. Even if it is only very small. For salad greens, maybe.

This year I want to start sewing again. I lost my mojo last year when my Mother died.  

I thought I would start a 'Vision Board'. A place to put my hopes and dreams, my inspiration. I already have the board. Maybe I will decorate it first with some pretty fabric and paint the frame. It's just an old bulletin board I found at a thrift shop. But it's nice and big. I'll put it where I can see it every day. I'll share it with you.

"New Year's Day is every Man's Birthday" - Charles Lamb

Some things I have learned from 2011;

Life is short, always take the high road. It has the best view.

Tell your loved ones how much you love them often, and why.

Take time to play. Being Happy is a choice.

Let the little things go. Don't make mountains out of molehills. It's o.k.

Take time for solitude, rest and reflection.

Don't be a perfectionist. Do what matters most and leave the rest. Make sure you are a priority, too.

Be the one who makes things fun.

These are actually Ninky's rules for life! Lol!

He wanted me to tell you that.

"We will open the book. It's pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day" - Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have the name, 'Lovejoy?'

I think I will change my name!

My Grandmother's name was Edith. Such a lovely old name. And of course my other Grandmother was Beatrice Euphemie. Don't you love how that flows?

I feel my Grandmothers looking out for me. I think of their lives and how hard it must have been. I wish I could talk to them. I was too young to ask the right questions before they died. I only know they left behind many virtues that have been beacons for their descendants. And a few vices. But we won't go there.

What can be said in New Year's rhymes,
That's not been said a thousand times?
The New Years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our prides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that's the burden of a year.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I wish you all a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday on Ice

Create a serving bowl from ice filled with fruits, flowers, and greens to make a beautiful centerpiece.

It's so easy to do.

All you need are glass or plastic nesting bowls with approximately a 3/4 inch gap, bottled water, and assorted fruits, edible flowers and greens.

At least one day before serving, fill large bowl about one fourth full of bottled water. Set small bowl inside, leaving a 3/4 inch gap all the way around. Set a small water-filled glass inside small bowl to weigh it down so it sits about 3/4 inch above large bowl.

Add thinly sliced fruit (citrus works very well), lacy greens, and pretty small edible flowers or rose petals. I also added cranberries, keeping in mind that these float to the top.

Using a wooden pick or knitting needle, slide your fruit and greens down into place.

Add more water if needed, leaving room at the top for expansion.

Freeze overnight. To separate bowls from ice bowl, fill basin with tepid water and immerse the bowl to just below the rim. Add tepid water to the inside bowl. Leave about 5 minutes until bowls are loosened from ice bowl. Place the ice bowl on a tray and return to the freezer until ready to use.

To serve, place ice bowl on platter with edges to catch any melted ice.

Fill your beautiful bowl with fruit salad, sherbet, ice cream, or shrimp cocktail.

Or simply fill with assorted fruit and edible flowers to make a lovely centerpiece.

Your guests will think you are so creative.

You don't have to let them know how easy it is!

That can be our little secret......Shhhhh! I won't tell if you don't!

(Another post created with My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software - Don't forget to enter my free My Memories Give-away. Simply go to and choose your favorite Scrapbooking pack and mention it on the comment section of my blog to win the beautiful software package I am using here. Drawing is January 5th, 2012)

Christmas Twinkle

The Old Year is ending and a New Year about to begin. Christmas is over in the blink of an eye, gone like melting snowflakes. We will put away this year's memories, wrapped up in tissue paper, leaving little flecks of glitter lingering behind, on the floor and in our hearts.

Tiny Angels   Sparkling Ornaments   Memories of Happy Faces

Twinkling Lights   Gingerbread   Warm Hugs

Christmas Cookies and Laughter

Hot Chocolate and Christmas Carols

Warm Fires     Poinsettias

Generosity in Spirit to celebrate the Reason for the Season.

Beautiful gifts of time spent with loved ones.

All wrapped up in Memories of one special day.

To keep safe in our Hearts until next year.

(I have used another beautiful set of Digital Scrapbook Pages from My Memories. If you would like to win this beautiful Scrap booking Software, please enter my blog give-away by going to and choosing your favorite Scrapbook package and leaving a comment on my blog telling me which one you like the best. I will announce the winner on January 5th)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

'My Memories' Holiday Give-Away

In the spirit of the Season, I would like to announce a very special Holiday Give-Away! As you can see, my Post today is especially creative. That is because I have used a very special Scrapbooking Software called 'My Memories Suite.' I will be giving away, to one lucky winner, this Scrapbook Software for your very own!

All you have to do to win is go to and choose your favorite digital paper pack or layout, then comment on my blog which one you chose.  

I can't tell you how easy this Scrapbooking Software is to use! With the My Memories Suite, you can create scrapbook pages that can be printed out at home, sent via the Internet to friends and loved ones, or you can have your pages bound into a lovely scrapbook as a cherished keepsake.

Not only that, but this Digital Scrapbook Software can be used to create calendars, greeting cards, and more.

I had so much fun creating these scrapbook pages and it took me less than an hour. Every component on the preset page can be moved around, re sized, changed color, enhanced or eliminated. You can add your own personally designed text, embellishments (choose from the many available or import your own), video, music and even narration!

Once you master the basics, you are free to create your own pages from scratch, if you like. Just use the excellent tutorials on the My Memories blog. YouTube has equally informative tutorials to get you started.

After downloading the software, I simply watched 3 or 4 tutorials and I was good to go!

Look how precious my scrapbook pages turned out!

I can't wait to share them!

This wonderful software is surprisingly affordable. And as a special gift to my wonderful readers, I am giving you a coupon code for a $10 discount towards Suite V3 which includes the Scrapbook Pages I used here, and a $10 coupon for the My Store. That is a $20 value! Use coupon code: STMMMS21236   

If you would like to increase your chances for winning, you can like My Memories on Facebook and/or go to Twitter and don't forget to mention it in the comment section of my blog, also. 

I just know you will love using this beautiful Digital Scrapbooking Software!

The winner will be announced Thursday, January 5th.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wish Upon a Star

Last night I saw a shooting star. It was one of those clear, crisp nights where the stars really twinkle and I had stepped outside for just a moment. The Big and Little Dipper have been rising every night right above Mount Rainier and giving us a spectacular show. Along with that, we have been watching Venus, Mars and Jupiter shining bright. But the shooting star was the best of all.

I went back inside to coax Hubby out with me. There we stood, small and insignificant, gazing upwards, marvelling at the beauty when right before our eyes, we saw another one! It was so special to see one together. A shooting star is better together. Don't you agree?

And I thought of what I would wish for.

But I couldn't wish for anything more.

Well, maybe world peace.

I have a hummingbird that has stayed for the winter. So every day I put out my feeder, then bring it in at night so it won't freeze. It is so small and fragile, yet so brave and resilient.

Like we are on this beautiful planet.

We have a hawk that has arrived for the winter. I was standing in the window looking out over our little forest clearing and right before my eyes I witnessed the fragility and the resilience. There was a flutter of wings and a flash as one bird gave his life for another. They landed on the ground together, and I felt regret for the innocence lost, yet a sense of awe. The Hawk was so beautiful. Soft bluish gray, striped wings and tail. A Cooper's Hawk. I ran to get my camera, but like the mist, when I returned he was gone.

It's been quiet here on my little mountain. As the year draws to a close, I have been reflecting. This has been a year of contrasts. I've lost my Mother. But I have gained a new daughter with the wedding of my son.

A new generation to carry on.

I am now the elder.

But it is something I look forward to. Now there is a new generation that begins with a long story of those that have paved the way.

Now it is up to me to tell the story. So it is not forgotten. Of lives well lived, of struggles and successes, of family stories to pass down.

It's been one of those years. A year of change. A year of happiness and sorrow.

But with every moment an awareness of how truly precious each day is.

You can't get them back. You can only go forward, learning from the past to make a better tomorrow.

And I think my Wish Upon a Star would still be World Peace. But also Peace within our hearts to know how brave and resilient we all are.

Life isn't easy. But we are all in this together.

Peace on Earth

Goodwill toward mankind

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

I have linked this post to Tina's Pic Story blog which you will find on my blog list. Please visit her blog and you will find amazing photos from all over the world. Thank you, Tina for your beautiful blog! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Potpourri Simmer

This is a wonderful way to scent your home the natural way. With just a few herbs and spices and some essential oils, you can create an aromatic blend that can be used simply as potpourri in a lovely basket or bowl, or added to water and gently simmered to release the beautiful scent throughout your home.

All of these ingredients can be found in your local market, your garden and at one of the on-line herb emporiums. My two favorite are San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Co. @ and Mountain Rose Herbs @ They ship promptly and are surprisingly inexpensive. When ordering essential oils, be sure to order an eye dropper or two to disperse the oil, always sold in the 'supplies' section.

This is also an excellent way to use up out of date kitchen herbs and spices that you might have in your pantry. Feel free to substitute or add to the recipe to correspond with what you have on hand. I always save my orange peels, leaving them out in a bowl until completely dry, then storing them in plastic bags or containers, or you can buy these.

Always use glass bowls and enamel or stainless steel pans and utensils, as the essential oils can react with metals and plastics, causing pitting and permanent staining and can alter the scent.

Christmas Potpourri Simmer

 1 large and 1 small glass bowl
small stainless steel or enamel saucepan
large covered glass dish or jar for storage

1 cup small or broken cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup whole allspice

1/2 cup whole cloves

1/2 cup cardamom chips, 1/2 cup star anise, 1/2 cup pine, balsam, or cedar needles, 1/2 cup coriander (any of these alone or in combination)

1 cup dried orange peel

1 cup bay leaf

1 cup mint

1/2 cup rosemary

1/2 cup orris root chips

15 drops cinnamon, cedarwood, or essential oil of choice (this should be chosen as your main scent)

10 drops balsam, fir, or similar essential oil

5 drops orange or bergamot essential oil

Begin by mixing the cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and/or star anise in the large glass bowl.

Add the orange peel, bay leaf, mint, rosemary and evergreen needles.

In the small bowl, mix the orris root chips with the essential oils, stirring well with a cinnamon stick. The orris root (ground Iris root) acts as a fixative, holding the essential oils in place so they can be dispersed evenly and allows the scent to last.

Add to the potpourri mix in the large glass bowl. Stir until evenly mixed.

At this point you now have a lovely potpourri to use as-is. But for those occasions when you want to scent the whole house, you can create a 'simmer'.

Add 1/3 cup potpourri to 4 cups water
 (a good way to use that pretty antique pan you've been saving for a special occasion)

Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low and simmer, replacing water if necessary as it evaporates.

This mixture can be refrigerated and re-used several times.

Keep in covered dish or jar when not in use to preserve the gorgeous scent.

This is an easy way to scent your home for much less than those expensive plug-ins or scented candles that give me a headache with their artificial scents. There is no comparison to the heavenly aroma of natural herbs and spices.

During these dark and cold days, put a little Christmas simmer on the stove as you go about your daily chores. Not only will it add a lovely scent to your home, but it will cheer you up with it's natural aromatherapy.

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