What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

Sugar Cookies


Sweet, familiar, comfortable.  Nothing speaks home quite like a sugar cookie warm from the oven.  No frills, just the friendly and familiar flavors of sugar with vanilla and a hint of almond.  I love this particular recipe made with butter and cream cheese.   These cookies are perfect for any occasion, or just for saying "I love you" to my family on a lazy afternoon.



 Sugar Cookies
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts, and the egg.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low until the mixture is evenly moistened.  Scoop the dough by tablespoonfuls into the sugar, rolling to coat.  Place on greased baking sheets (or use a baking stone), leaving 2” between them.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The edges of the cookies will just barely begin to brown.  Remove from the oven and cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.


Sneak Peek


It's warm here...lower 70s today, gentle breeze.  I admit to loving this weather and staying outside as much as possible, even dragging all the school books outside during the week allowing us to soak in the sunshine and fresh air.  So it wasn't the easiest thing to come inside and work on the Christmas give-away quilt, even though I've been itching to get my hands on this delicious fabric!  Incidentally, I have yet to figure out a satisfactory method for sewing outside.  I did manage to cut out an entire quilt while sitting on my deck one spring. The sewing machine and all the associated paraphernalia necessary for piecing a quilt, however, are a bit cumbersome to haul into the great out-of-doors.

So, alas, I settled for staying in with the windows open while getting a little work done this afternoon. I confess to loving these colors...a lot.  The bulk of this quilt is red and white, but there is a fair amount of green and aqua thrown in for fun and whimsy.  Having constructed the center block, I laid it out with some of the surrounding pieces to get a feel for the final effect.  And as much as I'd love to keep you all in suspense, I'm not very good at secrets.  This will have a couple small borders, one including the sweetest little prairie points.  I've never put prairie points on a quilt, but I know I'm going to love doing them.  And you'll like them, too.  Trust me.


These little hollies and berries will be hand appliquéd.  I'm debating whether the whole thing will be hand or machine quilted.  No doubt about it, machine quilting goes so much faster; but, hand quilting just gives the piece a "stitched-with-love" feel.  So about that...

...I guess you'll know when I know.

That's the way I roll.

Meanwhile, if you'd like your name in the hat for the drawing to win this, just leave me a comment, fire me off an email, or give me a holla on Facebook.   You know how to find me.


Apple Pandowdy


We came home from Sky Top Orchard with a peck of apples.  One peck of apples is a lot of apples!  We've munched a few right out of the bags.  And I have plans to cook up a big pot of apple butter with some of them.

For a quick delicious dessert, it doesn't get much better than this Apple Pandowdy.  It's sort of like an apple pie, but easier to make, because the biscuit-like topping is mixed and spread over the apples in the pan.

Apple Pandowdy...doesn't it sound just like a treat Grandma would have made?


Peel four large apples.  I put Holly on that.


Slice the apples and top with the brown sugar and cinnamon.


Mix up the dough and lay it on top of the apples.


Bake 45 minutes until golden brown.


Apple Pandowdy

  • 4 large apples
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
Peel, core, and slice apples into bottom of greased 8X8-inch baking pan.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Dot with the 2 T butter.  Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Cut in the 6 T butter.  Add milk to make soft dough.  Take out small pieces of dough and press between the palms of your hands.  Lay on top of apples, pressing dough together to form one big piece.  (It sounds dumb, but it works.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Cut into squares and turn upside-down to serve.  Top with whipped cream or ice cream.  Serves 8.


Have a beautiful week!


Sky Top Orchard

Yesterday we drove to Flat Rock, NC with friends to spend the afternoon at Sky Top Orchard.  (click the pics to enlarge.)

Beautiful October afternoons were made for fun times like this!  A gentle breeze was blowing and a slight chill was in the air.  It is no longer summertime.

 Acres of apple trees offered up their bounty to eager pickers.  Pregnant ladies are allowed to eat whilst they pick.

Since many of the lower branches were picked clean, our resident monkey volunteered to climb up and toss the apples down...

to the little ones...

...on the ground.

The obligatory group shot.

Good thing Tim pulled the loot down the mountain in a wagon.

A few little hitchhikers bummed a ride towards the end.

But, somehow they mustered up enough energy for the playground!

This is little Aislynn.  She's such a sweetheart! Just think y'all, next year Kyle will be this size!!

Holly liked the pumpkins!

 Nessa liked the apple donuts.  Actually, we all did!  They were...

finger licking good!

Aislynn gives the whole experience a hearty thumbs up!


Fabric Shopping

On Monday I set out to find the perfect fabrics for my Christmas give-away.  I knew just what I was looking for: reds, pinks, greens, and aquas with a bright, cheery feel.  I found them in this 12 days of Christmas line by Moda.

I can't wait to start on this in the next few days.  It's going to be a pieced and appliquéd table topper this time.  And my plan, as usual, is to announce a winner on Thanksgiving Day. 

I'll keep you updated on my progress.


Beyond Matchy

Most of you come to my blog to get recipes.  I know it's true.  You've told me so.  Some of you may come to see what sort of sewing or quilting project is in the works.  Doubtful any of you come here for jewels of wisdom, spewed forth as oracles from on high.  Not that you would find them here if you did....

Occasionally I get all philosophical and share little nuggets I'll call my "life-lessons."  These life lessons give a little glimpse of who I am and from whence I came.  This happens to be one of those days I'm feeling philosophical and preachy.  And this particular life-lesson has to do with decorating, of all things.

A long time ago, in a place far, far away I lived in the land of "matchy."  I desired that every accessory in our home go-together, coordinate, or match.   Those were the days of country blue and mauve.  Mauve.  Lots of mauve.  OK, tan and beige were allowed, too, maybe a little navy blue and rose.  No yellow.  No aqua.  No green.  Orange?  Heaven forbid!  The Mauving of America I call it.  If you're too young to remember that era, be thankful.  Be very thankful.

And themes.  I remember carefully selecting the colors and theme for the nursery when we discovered we would soon have a bundle of joy.  Blue gingham, tan, brown, a touch of pink gingham (in case it happened to be a girl) cream eyelet, and teddy bears.  That was all.  I coordinated every item perfectly as I took each loving stitch in the quilt, sewed the curtains, constructed the dust ruffle and bumper pads.  Everything had a teddy bear on it....the border around the top of the room, the switch plate cover, the candlewick embroidered rocking chair seat cushion.  (Does ANYone candlewick anymore?)

Then the problems started rearing their ugly heads.  Gifts that should have been appreciated and cherished became glaring "errors" in my carefully thought out plan.  The primary-colored clown, a gift from a dear friend--two strikes.  Primary colors were not permitted, and there was nary another clown in the room.  Definitely a loud gong in the sweet melody of my coordinated nursery.  There were other gifts such as a green crocheted blanket and a merry-go-round music box.  The blanket was easily tucked into a drawer, but the music box screamed from the wooden-shelf-with-heart-cut-out, "I don't belong here."  I felt a need to remain in control of what was allowed in that room or perhaps it might not look perfectly pulled together.  Minimal originality and creativity.  Zero spontaneity.

Weird, I admit it.

Looking back at photos, I now see rooms that were boring, flat, pretty much lifeless. I thought they were so cute in all their matchy-matchy, country glory.  Mostly, though, they were just dull. And I admit to now harboring a particular irritation to that style of decorating, where everything must "fit" just right.

I remember when I discovered yellow.  It happened about 1998 or some time around then.  Suddenly, I realized I was completely yellow deprived.  I'd lived without it for so long that when I discovered it in decorating, I wanted it everywhere....on my walls...on my quilts.  I couldn't get enough yellow.  And red.  And blue.  Primary colors.  All the colors I'd shunned for years.  The colors from which all other hues are made.  It seemed as though, when I welcomed the yellow, red, and blue, that all other colors worked fine in my home.  Nothing looked out of place.  It all came together.

Anyway, at least as far as decorating goes, I've learned to let go a lot.  It is so much more fun to take something odd or different and figure out a way to make it work, than to limit myself to a contrived, boring color scheme or trendy theme that is "in" one year and "out" a few years later.

There is a spiritual lesson buried here somewhere I think, as God often uses every day lessons such as this one to teach me spiritual truths.  So, as I've been pondering my shallow, short-sighted approach to furnishing our home, I can't help but think about my shallow, short-sighted view of my life at the same time. 

It can seem really nice when life fits a prescribed, predicable pattern, but rarely does it do that.  I admit to being a total wimp.  I can hold on tight, and try to remain in control of all the details of my life (exceedingly tiring, while totally useless), or I can let go and watch God work through the plethora of seemingly jangled events that often jar my comfortable existence.  Usually He is stretching me way past what feels easy to something a little harder, something that makes me depend more on Him.  But I find that, just like in decorating, stepping away from what is familiar into the unknown brings much more delight and beauty to my life.  What I think "looks good" from my perspective often doesn't. What seems foreign or frightening is often in reality thrilling.  He brings into my life circumstances or people that I would never choose for myself.  But He's God; and He knows best.

And I'm so thankful that He does.


Some Girls Have All the Luck!

Abby and I set out today on a mission to hunt down the perfect candle to accompany the mat in this Fall Give-Away.  Before completely overloading our olfactory senses with sweet, spicy, flowery scents, we settled on a wonderful Laura Ashley Pumpkin Nutmeg soy candle.

After tossing all 30 entries into a bowl, I asked Lacy to draw a name.

Rochelle, you won the candle and mat!  Some girls really do have all the luck and I'd have to say that yours is running really high right now.  The rest of you may remember that Rochelle is the only person to correctly guess Baby Saint's name.  And to top it all off and make it super fun, Rochelle and my brother, Doug, and their three boys are stopping by for a visit this weekend on their way from their home in Alabama to North Carolina.  So she can pick up her brownies from the name-game contest and her candle/mat all in one fell swoop, saving me a bunch on shipping.

I promise I didn't rig this drawing....

Keep an eye out for the annual Christmas Give-Away coming up at the end of next month.  I have no idea yet what it will be, but I'll try to make it something really special.


Swirling Leaves


Simple and sweet decribes this candle mat I dreamed up for my Fall give-away.  Homespun checks combined with blanketstiching and swirling leaves give it a warm, cottagy feel.  If you'd like to win this little 12-inch quilted mat, leave a comment here, or on my Facebook, or email me.  I'll draw a name randomly sometime next week. 



October Family Weekend and Fall Give-Away


Oh, my!  It's October already!  The first weekend in October we always celebrate with Tom's side of the family in north Georgia for our fabulous weekend reunion.  This year's theme: Russia/Ukraine.  More on that and pics to follow.

Time to update you on the Baby Saint status.  Abby had a sonogram last week and learned that the baby is a BOY!  So very excited about our new little grandson expected in late February. 

World, meet Kyle Brinson St.Clair

My sister-in-law, Rochelle, guessed his name on her first try.  So, she's the winner of the name game give-away.  Rochelle, you have a pan of chocolate brownies coming your way shortly!

Speaking of give-aways.  It's time for Laura Lee's Fall Give-Away.  I have this one almost finished.  I think you'll love this sweet quilted candle mat with traditional fall motifs.  Leave me a comment here or on Facebook or email me if you want to be entered in the drawing to win it.  Pics of the mat (approximately 12 inches diameter) coming very soon, hopefully tomorrow. 

I also wanted to show you the matryushkas or traditional Russian nesting dolls that Lacy crocheted for our weekend.  These are so precious!  Lacy, you outdid yourself again!  (There's a cute little baby one that doesn't show up unless you click on the picture.)



Have a lovely weekend and enjoy these beautiful fall temperatures wherever you are!