Monday, November 29, 2010


What a wonderful holiday. One of my favorites...nothing to do but cook, eat and be thankful! My kind of day.

One of the things I am thankful for is my real job, but it was nice to have several days off. I made the most of that time, enjoying a visit with my family. My mom hosted a big Thanksgiving day lunch at her house. My brother and his family came up from down south, and so did my Aunt Joy.

I cooked 2 turkeys and an orange coconut cake for the feast. This is the most amazing cake. It actually has an entire orange in the filling. I'm talking the peel and everything tossed into a blender and then combined with sugar and sour cream to create a delectable filling that you spread between the layers.

It tastes so good and looks really pretty too. The toughest part is splitting the layers, but if they are done and cooled completely it isn't too tough.

Orange Coconut Cake Recipe

4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups milk
1 package (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding
1 package (3 oz) box of orange jello
1 Orange Supreme Cake mix

1 whole orange (I use a navel orange because it has no seeds) - I put it in the blender and puree it)
1 package (12 oz) frozen coconut
1 carton (8 oz) sour cream
2 cups sugar

1 carton (8 oz) cool whip mixed with 1/2 cup of the filling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9" cake pans (tip: use a little of the dry cake mix to flour your pans)

Mix all of the cake ingredients together and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Be sure cakes are done so they won't fall apart when you split them.

Cool layers completely and then split the 2 layers into 4.

Mix all of the filling ingredients. Reserve 1/2 cup to mix with the cool whip for the topping.

Spread the remaining filling between each layer and on top.

Use the filling cool whip mixture to ice the cake on the sides and top.

Refrigerate the cake overnight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

You Are a Soul

Sometimes in the course of my "real job" I have the pleasure of looking for quotes that are used to reinforce a PowerPoint point. I always enjoy scouring quote sites and marveling at the ingenious things people have said over the years. I particularly love C.S. Lewis quotes. He had such a unique way of putting profound truths.

And a few more...

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one."

"We read to know that we are not alone."

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
(The Four Loves)

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

"The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us."

"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world."

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival."

"No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond."

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."

"God can't give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing."

"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me."

"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning..."

"Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."

"Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

"The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts."

"I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity."

"What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it."

"It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

"Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn."

"He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less."

"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair."

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you."

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."

"Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably."

"Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed."

"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. "

"You can make anything by writing."
"It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence."

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."

"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is."

"Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do."

"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

FusieDoozie Update

I took the first/only six FusieDoozies with me to a show in Anderson this morning. I was curious to see if there would be any interest in them, who would be interested, etc.

I am happy to say that All were adopted except Benton (pictured). I even got a commission for an additional one.

It appeared that almost all were purchased by adults, for adults. I was thrilled with the response to them. They seemed to make people happy!

So, I see many more of the little guys in my future! But that's okay, I had such fun creating the first batch!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stop Being So Serious!

I believe that I was born serious.

As a child, I was serious about, art, softball, the future, and most everything and anything else. That's not to say, I wasn't happy...I was, just serious.

Growing up, I always wanted to have one of those happy, funny, larger than life personalities. Unfortunately, DNA is tough to overcome, I remain fairly serious and a little shy to this day.

Thankfully, I was blessed to marry someone who is way more gregarious and memorable than I am. He is funny and loud and interesting, and comes from a big, rowdy, fun, Chicago family.

They didn't hesitate to take in a shy, little Southern girl 24 years ago! They gathered me into their big, warm embrace, and have always loved me unconditionally. It is my hope that over these past 2 decades, just a little of their warmth and humor has rubbed off on me.

Maybe that will explain my recent glass creation detour. I just got tired of being so serious, and one restless 2 AM, the idea for "FusieDoozies" came to me.

They are still in the prototype stage, but I had so much fun playing around with the concept. I created 6 of these little critters, came up with the "FusieDoozie" name, and developed a preliminary packaging idea.

It has been an interesting experiment. I loved creating them, and I had even more fun naming and making up a brief bio for each. Thought I would throw them out here on the blog and see if anyone has any feedback for me. Thoughts, ideas, suggestions, criticisms - any and all are welcome!

Unfired FusieDoozie Prototypes

Freshly Fired.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Glass Quilt...Framed

I promised earlier to post photos of the framed Glass Quilt as soon as I finished it up. So, here it is!

I actually put this one up for sale at my etsy shop. To see it there, click the etsy link up top on the left side of the blog page, or go to

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Dark Corner Revisited

My very first show was last year in Gowensville, SC, and it was a great first show. The people are extremely nice and even invited me to come back this I did.

Just like last year, we had a fun day there. The weather was wonderful, an absolute picture perfect fall day - warm and sunny, bright blue skies, red and gold trees, leaves falling like snow all around us.

One couple gave us a brief history of why the area is called "The Dark Corner." Apparently, at one time, this scenic mountain community was a haven for bootleggeers, moonshiners and other ne'er do wells.

An article I read online said that it was "an area where strangers unknowingly might go in and not return...(the area) rivaled the old west for its gun-fights, knife-fights, and mayhem in general."

Because of this outlaw reputation, a place there is known as "Little Chicago." Tim is from Big Chicago and wanted to see what Little Chicago was like. After we packed up to leave, we drove down the road trying to find it.

It's basically a bump in the road, marked by a big sign that is topped with a marker that says Little Chicago. Underneath pis a bunch of other signs marking distances to places far and near. There is a gas station on one corner, a broken down old country store and a little cafe - that's it.

The road sign that is "Little Chicago"

Tim visits Little Chicago

J.B. Williams and Son Grocery

Early morning setup begins.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Glass "Quilt"

One day this past weekend, when it was warm enough for me to work on glass without my fingers freezing up. I started with some small pieces of glass that I had pre-cut back home.

Basically, I was making pendants while talking with people milling around Chatty Crafty. I tend to start with a few colors and work in that palette for a while adding new accent color here and there, so at the end of the day, I had quite a few pieces that all had a similar feel color-wise.

Fourteen or so small pieces, intended for one purpose, looked so cool laying all together on the work table. So, I experimented with different patterns, a piece here, a piece there. It seemed so quilt-like.

In the end, I couldn't bring myself to fire them individually. So, I moved them on to a rectangle of black glass and glued each piece into place. I decided not to cap this creation with clear glass, because I feared that the gaps between each quilt piece would trap too much air and the resulting bubbling would be distracting.

Part of the fun of glass fusing is not knowing exactly what effect the firing process will have on a piece. It's exciting to open up a fully cooled kiln and find something completely unlike what's expected! Sometimes it can also be disappointing. A broken piece, an ugly bubble, faded color - there are many things that can go wrong.

But, in the case of this glass quilt, I was pleased with what I found the next morning. It just makes me feel happy when I look at it. It reminds me of the times I visited my mawmaw's house in Georgia. She didn't have central heat, just wood stoves in various rooms. At night when the fires were low, it would get very cold in her house. She would pile her beautiful, hand made quilts on our beds so thick that it was an effort to even turn over. I loved the softness of the fabric, the beautiful prints, the intricate geometric patterns.

The colors seemed to darken and get richer than the pre-fired color. The color also looks deeper than it does with the clear glass cap I often use.

I plan to put this tile on a canvas board and possibly frame. I will post shots of the completed piece in the coming days.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ever Forward...

I wish that I could say that I had a fabulous weekend sales-wise in Chattanooga. Unfortunately, sales were slow, and the weather was chilly. But, I can report that we had a nice time while we were there. Chattanooga is a great town, the people were nice and were understandably proud of their city.

Chatty Crafty was held in Renaissance Park near downtown. There was a cool, big mountain of dirt in the middle of the park, from the top you got a pretty view of the surrounding area. Local kids had a great time "sledding" down the hill on sleds and make-shift cardboard boxes.

We met lots of nice people there, we enjoyed great food at a place called FoodWorks and had breakfast at a cool grocery store called GreenLife.

One morning, mom and Emily found a little doughnut shop that had the best doughnuts. One of the locals said we needed to go back and try their famous "bacon doughnuts". He insisted they were delicious. Unfortunately, they were closed on Sunday morning, so we didn't get the chance to try them for ourselves.

Breakfast pizza at GreenLife Grocery.

Carousel at the adjoining Coolidge Park

View of Chatty Crafty from the "mountain" there in the park.

That's our canopy from above. The one with the windows.

We realized on the second day why everyone had to duck when they came into our tent. We hadn't raised it to the highest notch when we put it up in the dark Friday night. We didn't realize there was a problem - apparently, we are hobbits.

The weight we used to hold the tent down. It was windy enough to blow us away. We had one on each the front legs, and the back two were staked into the dirt behind us.

The Tennessee Aquarium

The Delta Queen

So, all in all it was a fun trip. The show ended at 6:00 - we had managed to surreptitiously begin packing up around 5:00 and were totally ready to roll at 6:15. I am so appreciative to my mom and Emily for all their help and support! They made the whole trip a pleasure, and I could not have done it without them.

This show was my first out-of-state experience. As of now, I plan on staying closer to home for a while. That isn't to say that I won't venture out again sometime, but I have several more small and local events lined up in the coming weeks. So for now, my motto is....Ever Forward!