About Me

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I LOVE to design and to paint whimsical items that will put a smile on your face. Each day I share my simple life with you as I try to encourage, to inspire and sometimes JUST to make you smile as I recount my life growing up on a dairy farm! I've never had many material items in my life, BUT I have been blessed beyond words with love and encouragement from WONDERFUL Parents who instilled in me WHAT was important. I have had EVERYTHING that I needed and WAY too much of what I wanted. I am slowly learning to be a better person each day through my interactions with my friends on Facebook. Some day I hope to be as good as people seem to THINK I am! I am BLESSED! Welcome to my little corner of the world...Please stop by and visit often!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Serendipity Sunday

Lately, I have had this almost aching desire to reconnect with past memories through food. 

I don’t know why, but I have had the desire to cook the favorite foods of my family.

I have shared so often that most all of my memories surround food, and really, is that a bad thing?

There is some great comfort in holding that black iron skillet in my hand again.  It holds memories from years of meals provided for our health, so that our health could be used for HIS service, and eat we did, and yes, serve, we did, also.

I loved hearing that line that Daddy said in his prayer each time he prayed, “bless this food to nourish our bodies, and our health to Your service.” 

I think that about sums up the motto of my family.

So, once again, I was reminded this week of yet another family memory.

My cousin asked for the family recipe of Chicken and Dumplings like Mother and Aunt Becky made.  I told her that I really didn’t think there was a recipe, but I would look and let her know.

Mother made so many things from memory, and that is how she taught me to cook.  I have shared that often she would remember a recipe with how many ingredients it had in it~~Eggplant casserole was 5: crackers, butter, egg, flour, onion (salt and pepper was always a given).  Oddly enough, this was one of Daddy’s favorite things to eat, yet he would not eat cooked squash!  SERIOUSLY??!!  Ah, but fry those suckers and he couldn’t get enough, but in all fairness, it is hard to fathom someone not liking that.  LOL

Sooooooooo, into the old file I went, and that is where the serendipity moment happened. 

I didn’t look so much at the recipes, as I did at whose recipes they belonged to.  Memories flooded my soul as I remembered Miss Bertha (and Mr. Henry), Miss Jeannette (and Mr. Horace), Avis (and Holcolm), recipe after recipe from her best friend and classmate, Shirley, my cousin, Trish, and on and on…

My mind recalled moments spent with each as we visited on a Sunday Afternoon, back when people took time to visit their neighbors and to go for a Sunday drive.  I laughed as I recalled visiting the Jones’ and she asked if we wanted a piece of pie.  I asked, “what kind” KNOWING if it were coconut, I would not eat it…I KNEW that asking was wrong, and as soon as it came from my mouth, those Blue laser-beam eyes drilled two holes in my skin.  What is a small child to do~~get in trouble for asking or get in trouble for wasting food!!  Mother tried her best to teach me good manners…she tried… =(

I laughed as I saw “never fail” on a recipe from Miss Jeannette, because Mother had shared the story of Jeannette making some “never fail cookies” that failed all over the cookie sheet!  It became a challenge to find those recipes and exchange them at Christmas.  Miss Jeannette taught Mother, Miss Mildred, and another Miss Mildred, how to knit, and the joke was that Miss Mildred Matthews had to rip her project out so many times, it became mohair!  Priceless…

I giggled as I saw a recipe from Miss Betty B, because when she married Mr. Bill, Miss Jessie (Bill’s mother) was so concerned about Miss Betty B’s lack of cooking skills, because she was, after all, a city girl and she could not have her city girl starving her big old hunk of a strong star football player!!  Miss Betty B “allegedly” made a tuna casserole and a pot of chili every week~~spring, summer, fall, winter!! (yes, I have shared HOW WRONG that is on so many levels.)  BUT, Mr. Bill was a big man, and I think he did just fine and never seemed to starve to death.  Oh, to have one of Miss Betty B’s forgotten cookies right now…That was love in a cookie.

Miss Bertha and Mr. Henry were our special friends.  They lived up the road, around the big curve…YES, there are a lot of big curves around where I live, and you had to know WHICH BIG CURVE someone was talking about!  LOL  Daddy farmed Mr. Henry’s land for many years, and when we had the ice storm of 1970, Daddy went and brought them to our house to stay because we had gas heat and a generator, for use after the milking.  They always had a parakeet, which to a child, is extremely fascinating…even though they have been gone for many years, the tomb markers for their birds still remain in their yard.  I wonder if the owners even know what they are!!

Oh, I could go for days sharing about the olde folks, but I DID find a recipe for Chicken and Dumplings.  It came from Miss Martha Johnson, and mother got the recipe on 2/22/95.  While it isn’t the recipe that Mother used when I was young, I do remember her making this.  I remember coming home to seeing cookie sheets all over the kitchen as they dried so she could freeze some of them!  YIKES, I did not want that many!!  LOL

Miss Ma’tha, was the sister of Avis.  We went to church together and Mr. Foster (her husband) and Daddy always called each other “Lum and Abner”, an old Radio show from the dark dark ages.  Oh, how I loved them.  Miss Martha had such bad arthritis that her fingers were crossed over each other, but she never complained and she never stopped doing ANYTHING.  She cooked, canned, entertained and loved on people better than a person who had no obstacles.  While I truly believe in the goodness of people and that there are so many wonderful, Godly people walking this earth, I am convinced that the mold was broken after Miss Martha was created.  She was a one-of-a-kind treasure! The same is true of her sister, Miss Avis.

So, I will share the recipe and stop walking down that crowded street called: Memory Lane.  I am so thankful that road is crowded with folks that I love…I know that street is paved with gold, and I can’t wait when it is my turn to visit them again!!  WOW…But until then, there are recipes and memories to share.

I will tell you that the BEST broth comes from cooking a small WHOLE chicken.  While this is totally gross to discuss, the bones and the skin are what gives the broth its great flavor.  I always cook at least two whole chickens, so that I can freeze the broth and the chicken for later meals.

Chicken and Dumplins

Boil chicken in water (in pressure cooker)…Take out chicken after it is cooked…Let cool to debone…

Use 2 cups warm liquid (broth).  Add enough PLAIN flour to make a stiff dough.  ROLL VERY THIN.  Do not roll all the dough out at once…Place the dumplings onto a baking sheet until they’re all cut out and drop into boiling liquid one-at-a-time.  Stir GENTLLY…Cook 15-20 minute until done, and add chicken pieces back in with dumplings…IF you need more moisture, just add water until you are satisfied with consistency.

Ok, so I didn’t want to eat Chicken and Dumplins until the second coming of Christ, so I used 2 large thighs (bone and skin) and boiled in a pan of water (about ½ gallon) for one hour.  I removed the chicken and ½ cup of broth.  I added plain flour (I lost count, but it was at least 1 ¼ cup) until it was not so sticky.  I then moved this to a floured piece of freezer paper and worked more flour into the dough until it was stiff and no longer sticky.  I, again, was too lazy to find the rolling pin, so I just spread it out with my fingers and got it pretty thin.  I cooked the dumplins for at least 20 minutes.  Then I added the chicken~~always add your chicken after, or it will become stringy~~yuck!  It was plenty for me and Charcoal to have a big bowl.  Yes, Charcoal ALWAYS wants more.

Yep, it tasted like I remembered, and I laughed as I recounted how Daddy hated dumplins.  He also hated biscuits, which Mother could make perfectly, with one hand tied behind her back.  She was often called the most “wasted” biscuit maker, because Daddy didn’t like them, but let me tell you, my brother, Brian, could eat his share, Daddy’s share, and anyone else who didn’t want theirs.  Yes, there was the night of a LONG walk because Brian ate too many “Riz Biscuits” and was miserable…LOL

Yep, we laughed about that for years…

It really is the simple things that are the BIG THINGS in the end...Find those blessings in your life and hold them in your heart for memories during tough times...~~charlotte

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tutorial Thursday

The elves have been at it again…

I just looked and saw Charlie inside the printer and Chester was sitting on top, grinning his silly grin.  Again, the green power light is ON.

WHAT are these guys up to?

Oh, look…Charlie was scanning his face so you could have a free line drawing!!

The original size is 4.5 inches wide and about 5.25 inches tall.  To get this drawing, right click on your computer and SAVE to your computer.  You can then print it and resize it as you wish.

AWWWWWW…so sweet!

Sometimes, it is tough to know what to do with a line drawing without having instructions.

Thinking outside of the box is tough for lots of us.  I shake my head at what I do NOT think about.  Once someone posted a piece of wood turned another way than I envisioned.  It didn’t dawn on me to turn the piece of wood that way…WHY would I not see that? 

I keep telling you~~the whiter my hair gets the more Lucy moments I have!

SO now, when I pick up a surface, I turn it different ways to see if it will inspire me.

I cut my own wood, and love to design easy cut outs…it never dawned on me that some people don’t have someone to cut wood for them, so I have started using surfaces that can easily be bought.

IF you cannot cut wood, then paint the design onto a surface~~a plate, teapots, coffee pots, old trays, recycled wood.

Also, you can paint simple designs onto cardstock.  Seal it with DecouPage (Mod Podge) or DecoArt All Purpose Sealer and paint it.

Mixed Media Paper is even better to paint on than cardstock, or watercolor paper~~you can usually purchase these at Walmart, but most definitely at craft/art stores.  Give them more body by painting them with Gesso, paint as you normally would, and seal with several coats of varnish.  Just a note~~it is easier to cut them out AFTER you paint them.

If you don’t paint, there are so many markers, colored pencils and crayons out there…

You can even stich the designs~~a simple running stitch would be a great way to teach the young ones how to sew.

I believe in getting children involved in the arts and it doesn’t have to be painting and sketching~~acting, music, writing~~just make sure they have good teachers so they can develop good habits.

This would make an adorable tag for your Christmas Gifts, and then can be used to hang on the tree~~two purposes! 

SO, I hope this will help to get those creative juices flowing…If you make one, please share it with me.  I would love to see it!

We will be watching YOU…

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Whacky Wednesday

Two of my special friends appeared this week...it has been a long time since they stopped by to say HEY to all of you.  

Some of you have NO IDEA who they are, so let me introduce you to them...

The larger guy is named Prince Charlie, the fairest in all the land...

The little guy is Chester the Jester Elf...

They are funny...

I guess I need to also give a little bit of history on them.

One of my favorite FB people, Lynn, had an elf that another FB friend, Miss Brenda, had made.  Lynn has put some of the cutest posts with her elf and it is always fun to see him make an appearance.  

Lynn's first elf perished in a fire at her house, but soon, she got another one....Let me be clear, you can NEVER replace someone that you loved, but sometimes, we just have to go on, and go on, she has...

Before too long, most all of my friends had gotten an elf.  OF COURSE, I was not going to miss out, either.  We have had lots of fun sharing our elf capades,  and it is time to start sharing again.

My two little mischief-makers probably took a vacation when the big dinosaur appeared (Charcoal)...

BUT, the other night, I went to the computer to type a pattern, and WHO was sitting above it, starring a hole through me...

Then, the next night, Chester was on my computer...

To the left, Prince Charlie, was sitting on top of the printer with the green light beaming...

WELL, I got them away from the computer, but when I opened the lap top, a line drawing appeared!!

I did ONLY what I knew what to do, I decided to paint it!...

NOW, to find a surface... 

 I have to admit, when I see these clipboards, I have mixed feelings.  Maybe that is why I haven’t painted them very much.  I know, it is silly, but that is what feelings do~~confuse you!   

I was in the Dollar Tree, buying several of these.  It was the winter, around Christmas.  The line was long, but that was ok, because it usually goes quickly.  Behind me was a man and his son, or grandson~~it is hard to tell with a man~~ROFL…Anyway, he was loud, and yes, I am loud, so I am not being mean.  

 Somehow, this loud man said to me something about me having so many of the clipboards.  I think I had about 8 or 10. I  told him I was an ARTIST and was going to paint them.

Let me tell you, I have been practicing being PROUD when I say I am an artist, because EVERYBODY has an opinion about WHO is an Artist and what kind of ART is called ART and not a craft…sigh…Gosh, we all want the world to see EVERYTHING though our eyes, don’t we…

Ok, sorry, I got distracted.  In my telling the man that I was an Artist, he said, “You sure aren’t a STARVING ARTIST.”  

 My entire soul wanted to cry.  The man was proud of his humor in front of the young man and the group of people and smiled and laughed, while I simply wanted to cry.   

Let’s be clear~~I KNOW I am FAT…I have a mirror and I have done this to my body and no one else is to blame for what I have done to me, but I feel like my life STILL has worth, just as much as anyone else’s life.   

I WISH I could have, at that moment, come up with one of my witty sayings, but I honestly wanted to crawl under something BIG to cover my BIG body.  I said, not out of love, “I KNOW I am fat, but at least I don’t say mean things to people out loud in public in front of a young man and show him how NOT to act…at least I TRY to be a good example.”  

The rest of the night is a blur…I went home feeling really crappy….

SO, I have decided to start painting HAPPY things on these clipboards, and This "found line drawing" is being called: 
                                 I LOVE ME…

IF I don’t learn to love ME, then why should anyone else?  I hope it will make YOU smile…it did me!  Hey, just in case somebody hasn’t told YOU, You are pretty AWESOME!  AND YOU ARE LOVED.

Being Kind sure is hard sometimes, BUT it is so important.  Always remember how you felt when someone was unkind to you, and try your best to NOT spread that feeling to anyone else.  We never know the pain that someone hides behind their smiles.

 Of Course, this was painted with my favorite paints~~
DecoArt Americana Acrylics

I KNOW, you will all be knocking yourselves over trying to get to etsy to buy this pattern...ROFL...I am being silly, but IF you are interested, this is the link to the pattern in my etsy shop.

OR if you would like to purchase the original clipboard, click here to go to my etsy shop where you can purchase this!

OR, if you would like to see what patterns and finished products I have available, click here to go to my etsy shop.


Have a wonderful day, and take every chance you get to SMILE and LAUGH...spread sunshine and find all those blessings that are around, just for you~~I am simply blessed to create~~charlotte ♡

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Serendipity Sunday

I didn’t WANT to have a serendipity moment today.

I wanted to get through the day and for the day to just be over.

Too many memories flooding my soul…

Too many emotions seeing all the messages of my friends…

SOMETIMES, I feel too greatly the pain of others…

BUT BOY, God told me in no uncertain terms that I WAS going to have a Serendipity moment and it was HE who was going to make it as plain as could be.

This is Daddy with his first Grandchild~~1990?  My oldest brother got married, he and his wife opened their florist and Kaylen was born~~Daddy said he got 3 new "girls" that week...LOL  He was such a good Poppa!

Daddy was an Almanac farmer, as much as was possible.  He would study that little pamphlet he would pick up at Clinard’s  Drugstore.  He could look at a field of corn and tell you if it was planted on the “dark of the moon”, and so on…

He knew a full moon, because he watched for it.  It seems that no matter WHEN I said, “look at the full moon”, he would reply with, “no, that will be tomorrow”, or “it was yesterday” or whenever, because NEVER did I get it right!!  It became a joke.  Shortly after he died, I was standing at the door of the fellowship hall, holding the door for “trouble”, as my Daddy called her, when she commented, “look at the full moon.”  I burst into laughter as I shared the story, and I was certain that it was not a true full moon…ROFL

Tonight, I needed to run into town to the Post Office and to the grocery to pick up some fresh veggies.  I timed it to get back home before dark, but after the mobs had gone home to watch the basketball final.  It was a nice trip chatting with the friendly cashiers.   We thought it was quite funny that more than half of what I bought was for DA BOY…LOL

As I turned off of the highway, onto the road that turns into our road, I looked at the sky~~STRAIGHT DAB in front of me, a FULL MOON.  It was still daylight.  I laughed as it looked like the man in the moon was singing.  I wished I had my phone to snap a picture, but it was at home.  As I went up the hill by Mr. Howard’s house, the moon disappeared as quickly as I had seen it.  I still wonder if it was, indeed, a full moon~~LOL

God was NOT going to let this day go without me having an unexpected laugh at something that had not crossed my mind.  I found myself laughing as I recalled the many conversations about the moon with my Daddy.

Yes, I stole this from Mitzi...I told her it fit me better!

I am certain there is singing and worship in Heaven, where so many of our loved ones now call HOME.  We miss them so much that our heart breaks and our tears flow, but they want us to be happy!  They want us to join them, at the right moment, but for now, we have work to do on this earth.  We must honor their memories and must share what they have taught us. 

There is a season for EVERYTHING…weeping and wailing may last through the night, but JOY comes in the morning…

Sometimes, even when our hearts are of stone, God sends such a simple thing~~the moon, the stars, lightening bugs, a butterfly or a big bight orange sun~~to remind us to REJOICE!!  Just proof, again, that for those who didn’t have the best earthly Father, WE have the most AWESOME HEAVENLY FATHER who will never ever disappoint us…who wants ONLY the best for us…who wants us to have a future…to prosper…to trust Him…to not fear…to LOVE…

Thank you, Dear God, for giving me my Daddy.  I don’t understand why I got such a good one, while others didn’t.  I rejoice with my blessings and hope that somehow, you will use me to help others…to encourage others…to be a beacon of your love’s light in an often dark world.  Thank you for your watch care over me and my friends.  Keep us mindful of YOU and what matters…Thank you for forgiving me when I fail, but for loving me enough to give me another chance.  I hope I will do the same for others.  Let me reflect the values I was taught by my parents, who learned them from You…In your holy name, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, and my Lord…Amen.

Grab those blessings…they are EVERYWHERE~charlotte♡