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Happy 7th Blogiversary to me!

Incredible! This blog is 7 years old! Last year, on the 6th Blogiversary, I was on a “wedding break” so I missed that celebration. That means that this year we need to go all out!

7th blogiversary

As such, there will be Seven Individual Prizes and One Super Cool Grand Prize.

Before I explain how to enter and what exactly it is that you can win – a little history.

figure tape holder

Two and a half years ago, I posted THIS… all about how I cleaned out and reclaimed a large part of the kids’ playroom upstairs as my new craft room. At the time, Connor still lived here, so about half of the room had his stuff in it. Three months after the reclamation, Marissa and Jeff got engaged.



Slowly but surly the room became the dump-room for all things bridal shower, wedding and after-wedding brunch related. In other-words, I trashed it.

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August 16, 2016   16 Comments

lucky 7

big day

There will be a contest.


For Prizes!

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August 15, 2016   3 Comments

1800 Europe bound

gin tonic kit

This, my 1800th post, is being written at Sky Harbor International Airport at 7:00 PM on July 15, 2016. Dave and I are waiting for our British Airlines flight to London, continuing on to Munich to start our 2-week vacation.

gin tonic recipe card

By the time you read this, we will be done with Munich and on our way to Switzerland. We begin a land tour in Zürich and Lucerne before boarding an 8-day river cruise down the Rhine River which ends in Amsterdam.

I hope to write blog posts intermittently, but you can also follow our adventure on my Instagram page.

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July 20, 2016   2 Comments

worth the wait

  • Carboy – a large glass bottle, especially one of green glass, encased in basketwork or in a box and used to hold and transport liquids.
  • Demijohn – a large narrow-necked bottle usually enclosed in wickerwork.

As you know, I’m pretty much addicted to the monthly Sweet Salvage sale events. At the April weekend, an extra-large carboy caught my eye. It cost more than I planned to spend, so I passed it by.

sweet salvage storefront

It was still there at the May event – at the same price. I took a closer look and saw that it had a spigot, which is unusual for carboy or a demijohn. I asked an employee if she knew if the spigot worked. She didn’t know and since it was the first morning of the sale and the place was packed, I didn’t pursue it any further and again walked away.

You guessed it, it was still there last weekend at the June sale. This time I had to know if it was functional, so I asked Kim, the owner of Sweet Salvage and she let me take it outside and test it with a hose.


It worked perfectly and now it is mine!


Isn’t it a beauty?


So unique, not encased in wicker like your standard demijohn, but instead with a metal cage and with that fabulous spigot.


Plus, it’s HUGE! Just look at it next to this chair!

Okay, after hauling it all around the backyard in 118 degree weather, I’m taking it inside to show you the lovely details.

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June 23, 2016   1 Comment

bugs and such

Well, that’s not much of a title for a cooking blog, is it? Sorry, it can’t be helped, I’ve been dealing with a variety of bugs recently.

hot tea copy

I’m recovering from my third bout of summer pneumonia. No, not three illness this summer, but the third time I’ve had pneumonia during a hot Arizona summer. Go figure! And, I know, it’s not officially summer yet but … more on that later.

The first time I was diagnosed was over the 4th of July weekend, back in the late ’90’s. I specifically remember that date because we had to cancel our annual 4th of July Pool Party. The first and only party I’ve ever cancelled.

best med copy

The second time was during the last week of summer cooking classes in 2009. That was the sickest I think I’ve ever been. I still taught the classes, but if not for my son, Connor, being my assistant and the fact that I was no longer contagious, that would have been the first and only summer session I would have had to cancel. I made a deal with my doctor; Connor would do all the setup while I stayed in bed. I’d get up to teach the 3-hour classes each day and then go back to bed while Connor cleaned up. I was supposed to stay there until the next day, but that was impossible. I had to do some of the setup and prep, but Connor did the bulk of the work that week. It was pure misery.

And here I am again. It came out of nowhere over the weekend. But three days of antibiotics and I’m on the mend. I’m not feeling great enough to cook up a storm. Not that I even want to cook – it’s too damn hot to think about anything but cold soups and salads and as many liquids as I can tolerate. Look at the forecast for the coming days. I mean … Seriously!!!

crazy hot

That’s what I’m talking about. It may not be officially summer, but in Arizona, official seasonal starts and stops make no difference whatsoever!

pom perfect

OK, so illness is not the only bug I’ve been dealing with, the other is an actual creepy-crawly bug. I have a beautiful pomegranate tree that produces big beautiful pomegranates each and every year. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?

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June 17, 2016   2 Comments

around the yard


The weather is quickly heating up around here, so I thought it might be nice to share a few quick photos before everything turns, well you know, brown and dead.


Later this week I’ll tell you about an experiment I’m in the middle of with my pomegranate blossoms, like the one above, to try to actually get some edible pomegranates from my tree this year.






This is one of the few plants that will still look this good come July and it is my favorite image here. Proving, I really am a desert girl at-heart.

potato vine

Postscript: In a comment below, Betsy asked for a list of the plants pictured, I’ve not only added that in the comment section in response to her, but also at the end of the post. Thanks for asking Betsy!

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April 25, 2016   2 Comments

dye those eggs!

fresh eggs

I thought you might need a little reminder that there are better ways to dye Easter eggs than those little kits you buy at the store.

Here is what I am doing today…

silk ties

… opening up 100% silk ties to make my Silk Transfer Easter Eggs.

silk tie easter eggs

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March 24, 2016   3 Comments

Sweet Salvage March finds

I’ve been busy nursing my dad back to health so this is the first post since last week. I returned my dad to his home on Wednesday afternoon, after a nearly 2-week stay with us. He is healing well, so it was time for him to get back to doing things for himself and time for me to get back to my own needs and routines.


Need numero uno was to go to opening day at the March Sweet Salvage event and did I ever find something SWEET! It may not look all that fabulous from this side…


…but turn it around and this huge 2-sided sign is downright fantastic, especially in the shadow of my fig tree.


And even more spectacular under the actual blooming tree! I am not yet certain where the sign will hang, but it will definitely be somewhere in the back yard – AKA “Linda Land” as my dear friends, Steve and Tram, call it.


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March 18, 2016   1 Comment

Christmas tree – ornaments or no ornaments

When I returned to posting last month I mentioned that there had been some changes at our house.


Here is change number one…

shoe cat copy

… and change number two.

tower cats

Meet Bombay and Bailey.


If you’re wondering if they are named after Bailey’s Irish Cream and Bombay Sapphire Gin. Why, yes, they are.

chair cat

Our first pet was a dog named Kahlua. Our second dog was Tanqueray. Both were Keeshonds. Once I have a theme, I stick with it.

bathroom cat

I found Bombay outside a friend’s house back in May and brought him home.

It was love at first sight.

cat box

Problem was, Bombay was separated from his litter-mates too early and didn’t know how to play without biting hard and scratching like crazy.

sweet girl

After nearly 2 months of torn up hands and arms, I went to the Humane Society and brought home Bailey.


Bailey taught Bombay to be civilized. She is an absolute sweetheart but is also a major troublemaker. She may be small but she has no fear and no shame. At least Bombay will wait until you’re not looking to do something bad. Bailey will do it right in front of you and not care how much trouble she gets in. She has racked up more timeouts than your average toddler. Her timeouts consist of being locked in the laundry room. She hates it but it doesn’t deter her at all!


The two of them even have their own Bragelina style name – Bombailey.

Bombailey has caused a huge dilemma for me this Christmas. What am I going to do with two kittens and a Christmas tree filled with Waterford, fragile glass, vintage and crystal ornaments?

I’ve posted my concerns about it on Facebook for weeks now and my friends have been of little help, basically mocking and taunting me with frightening (OK, and funny) videos and photos like this and this.

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December 16, 2015   6 Comments

Happy Birthday to my baby girl

Instead of the recipe I was planning to post today, I just have to wish a happy birthday to my beautiful newlywed daughter, Marissa.


Thank you for allowing me to be so instrumental in planning your big day. It was my joy and my honor, just as it has been to be your mom for these blessed years. The world is brighter and more beautiful because you are in it.

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December 1, 2015   3 Comments