Thursday, December 31, 2020

Spoonbills and New Years’ Wishes

Volume 18 Issue 1, January 2021

What's New in January?

This is our 18th year. It was started around my original artwork and greeting cards, as well as my fractal art. Then I discovered polymer clay (back in the old days), and I haven’t really looked back from there. Fast forward, even though I work primarily in polymer clay, my art has been incorporated into other products and patterns.

2020 was a wild ride, to say the least, for us, our friends and family, and of course, to all of you. I hope that you had a holiday season that while not normal, at least was filled with friends and family as best you could.

I hope that 2021 brings us all health and may we return to normal as quickly as we can.

I took a break after a very hectic holiday season to wander around at the Canaveral National Seashore. I was looking for the holy grail of my bird photos: the Spoonbill.


What’s New

Pushpins: Coming up—Mother’s day, Valentine’s Day and Friendship pushpins.

Beads: New sets of handmade beads are now in stock. Many styles to choose from like pillow, earring pairs and cabs.

Inspirational Keyrings: From fierce women to Bible verses, new keyrings are made to give you inspiration anytime you look at them.

My books are now in paperback!

You will find all of my beads, canes and finished jewelry on my website.

Until next month,


Things to Look Forward To:

New Products:

Cuff Bracelets: Bible verse cuff bracelets, Valentines’ Day and Mother’s Day themes are all on the board.

Charm Necklaces: Simple chain necklaces with bible verses, charms and even a 4-leaf clover are in the works.

Prints and Posters: Bible verse posters and other art featuring hot rods and more are in production.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Bears and Bartering Chips

First off, I want to thank EVERYONE for your hard work and commitment to making our Countdowns work every spring and fall. It is only because everyone jumps in, promotes, provides links and shares everything that these work.

All of your wonderful, beautiful, outstanding gifts are the heart of the Countdowns. So, a heartful of thanks to you, and this year was really sweet with all of your delicious desserts as the showcase of the midweek posts. Can’t wait to try all of the goodies, and with that, we start our last midweek post of the 2020 season by asking the following question:

What do bears and Thomas Jefferson have in common?

They both loved cranberries.

While working on The Constitution, James Madison wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson, who was in France at the time, and asked him some questions about constitutional government that he wanted use at the Constitutional Convention. Jefferson sent Madison several books on the subject and bartered a shipment of pecans, apples and cranberries for his help.

Meanwhile, bears were shoving cranberries into their mouths as fast as they could before someone like that pesky Madison could snatch them off the branches.

The cranberry is the product of a low, trailing vine or evergreen dwarf shrub that is primarily grown and harvested in North America and Chile, which makes up 98 percent of the world’s production of cranberries. The average height of a cranberry bush is about 8-inches tall and trails out around 7-feet.

Cranberry recipes go back long before any European settlers showed up on the shores of North America. In fact, when the colonists came here, they were given a gift of small bark cups of cranberries (or sasemineash, as the berries were known natively.)

Since that time, cranberries have been a traditional dish during the holidays as they ripen in September, are perfect for preventing scurvy and get rid of the fever from hoof diseases. Of course, they get boiled and mashed into cranberry sauce that tastes great with turkey or mutton.

You can always put them into a pie like Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs does every year. She is after Jefferson’s heart by adding his favorite apples in there, too.

Cranberry-Apple Pie

2 pie crusts (Catherine buys them)

3 cups sliced cooking apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Honey Crisp, etc.)

2 cups whole cranberries or frozen cranberries, thawed

1 ¾ cups sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 ½ TBSP butter

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line pie pan with one crust. Mix apples and cranberries lightly in mixture of sugar and flour. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Cut some slits in the crust. Bake 40-50 minutes or until crust is nicely browned and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust. Cool.

Here are some more sweet things to consider this year while holiday shopping:

Red Green Christmas Earrings, Swarovski Ornament Jewelry Gift Holidays

Shadow Dog Designs

Red Cranberry Snowman Charm Bracelet, Handmade Christmas Jewelry

Victorian Style Treasures 

Emerald Rhinestone Bracelet Vintage 14K Gold Plated Chain

Magdalene Jewels 

Handmade Large Hole Lampwork Beads, Christmas Holiday Bead Set, Red Green White

Covergirl Beads 

Handmade green beaded Kumihimo wrap

Andrea Designs 

Traditional Christmas Red Poinsettias with Gold Trim

Colleen Cornelius 

Christmas Earrings - Red Candy Cane Earrings - Christmas Jewelry


Norfolk Island Pine Earrings Exotic Wood Dangle


Christmas Holiday Earrings, Stocking Stuffer, Santa Jewelry

The Singing Beader 

Beaded Bracelet, Quartz and Pearl, Handmade Jewelry

Morgan Jewelry Design 

Swarovski Emerald Green and Pearl Snowflake Sterling Silver Earrings


Christmas Holiday Cuff Bracelets for Women, Jewelry Gifts for Her

Blue Morning Expressions 

In addition to these fantastic gift selections, each of these artists have their own shops filled with more gift ideas, so be sure and stop and shop with each one.

If you see  something you like, buy it now or forever lose it as handmade gifts sell out quickly!

Shop from these additional countdowns and pages:

Don’t see the perfect gift? Ask an artist to help you design something.

Shop now!


PS – Again, thank you all for your continued support of the Countdowns, and we’ll see you in a few weeks for the Countdown to Mother’s Day 2021!

Friday, December 4, 2020

Countdown to Christmas 2020 Week 12



It's always hard to say goodbye, but here we are at the end of the 2020 Countdown. May your new year be prosperous and your holidays sweet. 

See you in a few weeks for Mother's Day, 2021! :)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Garden of Memories

Ahh, the refreshing taste of peppermint.

I remember my Great-Grandmother growing mint like peppermint or my favorite, spearmint, in her garden. Or it might have been just loose in the yard, and the imagination of a 5-year-old made everything a “garden”. Either way, mint has been something that I have fond memories of.

Peppermint came to be associated with the holidays, thanks in part to the Bob’s candy canes. If you remember from our post last year on the traditions of candy canes (read here), then you know that the candy was made first, and the peppermint was added later.

1874 was a long time ago, so we can assume that we all know that candy canes are peppermint as we had never tasted anything but peppermint. Today's kids enjoy other flavors like spearmint, chocolate  or whatever funky flavor du jour there is now.

For this post’s purpose, we will marry peppermint to the candy cane and call it a day.

Although, as a side note, peppermint is an excellent palate cleanser that can cut through some of the really rich foods we consume during the holidays. It is also instrumental in settling a burping tummy after one too many ‘nogs.

While peppermint is traditionally a European herb, the United States produces almost 75% of the world’s peppermint. Maybe that’s what my Great-Grandmother was doing; she was a peppermint farmer. And I was the Easter Bunny.

Speaking of fond memories, Kathy of KatsAllThat brings us a delightful peppermint and CHOCOLATE recipe this week.

Dig in.

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles (Vegan)

  • 2 C. Flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 C. dutch cocoa
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 C. applesauce (replaces eggs)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. peppermint (reduce to 1/2 tsp is you don't want too much peppermint taste)
  • Sugar topping: 1/2 C. sugar and 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  1. Combine flour salt, baking powder in a large mixing bowl.   In smaller bowl mix cocoa powder, sugar, applesauce, oil and extracts until well blended.  Add to dry ingredients.  Wrap dough in plastic and chill a minimum of 2 hours.
  2. Add the sugars to two separate bowls or plates.   Scoop 1 tbsp. of dough and roll into balls.  Roll in the granulated sugar and then into the powdered sugar.  Place on parchment paper lined or silicone lined cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 350 degrees 12-13 minutes.  Don't overbake, these should be soft and chewy.

Other delights available for us to give to our friends and family follow:

Cerulean Blue Faceted Agate Bali Copper OOAK 21 inch Necklace


Dark Blue Pearl Clear Crystal Beaded Bracelet, Small Med, Sparkling, Dressy

The Singing Beader 

Navy Blue Silver Crystal Earrings, Swarovski Montana Teardrop Jewelry

Victorian Style Treasures 

THE ROYAL BLUE CROCHET HAT, holiday gift, for her, ready to ship

Andrea Designs 

Copper - Pendant Necklace - Jewelry Set - Wire Wrapped Jewelry - Copper Wire and Royal Blue Necklace and Earrings


Handmade Lampwork Glass Beads, Ink Blue Etched Matte Frosted 058e

Covergirl Beads 

Cross Earrings, Copper Lampwork Spirals Christian Handmade Jewelry

Shadow Dog Designs 

Crocheted Loden Sweater w Hood Baby Boy Navy Blue 18-24 mo

Magdalene Knits 

Exotic Wood, Afzelia Pendant Faceted Agate Beaded Necklace 925 S.S. closures



Ice Blue Light - Selective Coloring Clock

Colleen Cornelius 

30mm Blue Rose Handmade Polymer Clay Beads Set of 2, Jewelry Supplies

Blue Morning Expressions 

In addition to these fantastic gift selections, each of these artists have their own shops filled with more gift ideas, so be sure and stop and shop with each one.

If you see  something you like, buy it now or forever lose it as handmade gifts sell out quickly!

Shop from these additional countdowns and pages:

Don’t see the perfect gift? Ask an artist to help you design something.

Shop now!