#100 Day Project Update
Thank you for sharing your thoughts ... and things(!) in the #100 Day Project: 3 Good Things About Today.
I was surprised and so pleased so many of you are listing three good things about your day ... someone wrote and said one day they found seven good things(!).
My daily lists are growing, but I have to say, even though I enjoyed it, I spent way too much time on this pineapple upside down cake collage.
Way too much.
So I'm revising my plan: continue to list three good things about my day (it's the most important part of the project), and illustrate some of them.
Rather than one a day, when I finish an illustration or collage, I'll start another.
One illustration a day was too ambitious.
But, it was a good reminder that I don't need to give up or get frustrated. Rather, adjust my expectations and revise the plan.
Note: You'll see I also adjusted the template for this entry by using a pen to extend the box to fit the collage created on a separate piece of paper.
I hope that helps you with whatever you set out to do ... review, revise, and adjust as necessary.
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Less sheek, more shabby
The first time I painted the faux wood finish on the table top, my patience for the project ran thin at four coats: base, faux finish, and two clear coats to protect it.
Though the finish lasted for years, daily use left the table with numerous nicks and finally, an unsightly ring (from what I don't know), taking it from chic to shabby.
The satisfaction of doing
It wasn't shabby-chic, that interior design term that embodies comfort and warmth.
No, the table became all shabby, no chic.
One trip to the hardware store, copious amounts of elbow grease, and eight(!) coats later, the table looks brand new and I'm savoring the satisfaction of doing.
March is Craft Month
Now, I'm not sure painting one table can be considered a craft, but the elements of craft are embedded in the process:
A willingness to try, to learn, experiment, fail, and press on. To create, make, and acquire new skills.
It took months for me to get going. So I did what I had to do ... I sanded the surface. After that, the table looked worse than before, so there was no turning back.
Despite myself, I really enjoyed the process and already have my eye on another piece of furniture.
If there's a hobby, passion, or project you've been pondering, March may be the month to sand, prime, paint, and get on with it.
Got any ideas?
Tracking the good stuff
One good thing leads to another
Last year on a walk around the neighborhood, we stopped at the Little Free Library box that's tucked in a break in the split-rail fence, two blocks down.
Inside the box I saw the bright yellow spine of Shawn Achor's book, On Happiness. I was familiar with Achor's (funny) TED Talk and took it home.
A new practice
Achor's book is filled with stories and studies on how to boost your happiness. One way is to create a daily list of three good things. It's much the same as a gratitude, list, but I like the idea of three good things.
As you sit with pen in hand, you might at first wonder what good your ordinary day held.
Stick with it
Take a step-by-step run through your day ... you'll find there were good things.
1) that warm shower after a chill
2) seeing the sun after the rain, or
3) a smile from that stranger on the street
It's surprising how comforting and reassuring it can be to recall even the smallest moments.
Taking it to another level
Yesterday, I decided to try something different ... same exercise, but in a new format. Every day for the next 100 days I will continue to list three good things about my day ... and illustrate one.
The idea is inspired by Michael Beirut's 100 Day Project. My goal is to experiment with writing (maybe a poem or short essay), collage, painting, drawing, and photography.
In keeping with Beirut's outline, I will keep the project simple and work on it for only 15-30 minutes a day, for 100 days.
Will you join me?
You don't have to illustrate your list and no special skills are needed.
Just write down three good things at the end of each day. You can list them in a notebook, on sticky notes, a chalkboard, or document them on your phone.
Whatever is most convenient, and makes it more likely you'll stick with it.
I started with a blank notebook and keep it on a side table where I'm sure to see it every day.
If, like me, you want to take it to another level, pair an illustration or photograph with one entry from the day's list.
If you like hand lettering, hand letter your list.
Experiment with abstract images, shapes, and colors that represent how the good feels, or looks, to you.
Either way, it's a good exercise to remind ourselves that if we look, really look, there is something good to be logged and appreciated every day.
I hope you'll join me.
p.s. I've created a blank template to keep my 100 day entries consistent ... if you like, download and use the template for your list.
How handy are you?
Are WE HANdy
He checked the basement when the outside temperature fell to 5°F.
At first, the ragged shape on the cement wall looked like a shadow cast by the light fixture with the pull-string cord knotted at the bottom.
But it wasn't.
It was moisture. We had a leak.
Was it the frozen pipe we were feared that frigid night ... a burst pipe leaking water, wreaking havoc?
We grabbed a flashlight and followed the telltale shimmer on the copper pipe above the damp spot on the wall that was below the kitchen sink.
Up, up, up, we went to the drip, drip, drip coming from ... the faucet stem.
Is this something we can fix ourselves, we wondered?
No. We need a plumber.
But wait. Three days ago the hose connected to the faucet was dribbling. The connection was loose. I tightened it.
So now, we wondered ...
Maybe it's the seal, it needs a new washer.
It did. The unscrewed connection revealed not a worn washer, but a frayed o-ring.
Oh ... we can fix that, we said in unison.
And we did.
We dried the wet, fanned the moisture, gave one another a high-five and exclaimed ...
Are we handy, or wHAt?
Yes and no.
Changing one o-ring won't make anyone "handy." But having the willingness to try, does.
Because more often than not, there's no instruction manual for the exact problem that needs a solution. So we read the manual and try this, or that, and see what happens.
With each attempt, we store what we've learned in a memory folder labelled, "Try this, it worked last time."
And that's what makes us handy ... and creative and artistic.
So, give it a go. Shine a light and see what shimmers.
I've never been a picky eater. Not really.
This is Jell-O Week and it reminds me of one of my favorite holiday treats when I was a girl ... my grandmother's jello, served with the meal, not after. She mixed fruit in with the jello, layered it with whipped cream, and served it in a parfait dish that was undeniably festive ... layer upon layer of jello and whipped cream visible through the clear glass sides of the parfait bowl.
Having a dessert-like dish served with the meal seemed so decadent ... even on a holiday.
My first experience with anything other than fruit as jello mix-in was with a gelatin meat mold that was served at a dinner where I was a guest. Pieces of carrots and sliced beef floating in the congealed gelatin. I'd never seen such a thing, and wasn't sure I liked what I was seeing.
But we were visiting and when it was passed around the table, to be polite, I placed a small spoonful on my plate.
One bite and I was done. Nope, not going there.
A more recent, and pleasantly surprising, gelatin dish I've discovered is coffee "jelly." Simple and refreshing.
Friday is National Cabbage Day and a friend has tried again and again to convince me that lime jello with cabbage is good. I'll take her word for it.
Would you or wouldn't you ... or have you tried lime and cabbage jello, whipped up a batch of coffee jelly, or served a savory gelatin dish? Share your story in a letter, an essay, or a conversation and see what gels.
The rush to get it done ...
It was a last minute addition to the menu: chocolate avocado pudding. No stovetop required, just blend and chill.
But was late in the day.
It would be a rush to get the pudding made, chilled, and ready to serve.
But it was possible.
With the familiarity that comes with having made the recipe a number of times, I cut and pitted the avocado, measured the cocoa powder, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla, and whipped it together.
After spooning the pudding into individual serving bowls, I slid the bowls into the freezer for 15 minutes to speed the cooling.
When I reached back into the freezer to transfer them down into the refrigerator, condensation had formed on the outside of the bowls, and they were slippery.
One down, two down, three, and things were going well. When I lifted the fourth, the bowl slipped from my hand.
Boom. It hit the floor.
The bowl didn't break, but the jolt tossed the pudding from the bowl and it sprayed in every direction possible ... landing on my slacks, my sleeves, in my hair, on my face, and surrounding kitchen cabinets.
The first gasp I let out was for the bowl as it slipped from my hand.
The second, for the dollop of pudding that landed on my cheek.
And the third, loudest of all, came as I slid to the floor, in a full split, when I stepped forward and lost my chocolate-covered footing.
Oh, I wanted to cry, almost did cry, but the dollop on my cheek slid down and touched my lip.
Huh? Pudding ... sweet ... cool ... so good.
And then I laughed. Yes, I got the pudding made, but I'd also created a lot of work for myself when it came to cleaning up the mess I'd made.
National Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day reminded me of my pudding predicament and another saying: haste makes waste ... yes it does, and it puts you down one serving, puddin'.
I hope you use the weekly Story Starter calendar of days to write and share your stories.
Some days may resonate, others, not so much. But most weeks I hope you find one or two that prompt something ... for conversation, letters, writing practice, or a collection of stories worth sharing.
Because people love stories, and you've got some good ones.
If you're interested, here's the recipe for Avocado Chocolate Pudding.
I don't have anything for Ballet Day, do you?
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p.s. for the grammar buffs: Is it "spilled" or "spilt?"
It's listed as "National Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day," but when it came to my collage, I liked the alternate spelling, and decided to with "spilt."
Weeks into winter, we were 17" below average for snowfall, and then came the storms, one after another, and they dumped enough snow to make up the deficit.
After the first storm it seemed we were living in a snow globe. Snow covered rooftops, trees, and streets ... for days. It was beautiful.
After the snow came, I realized I missed the hush of a snow-covered landscape and the crisp air and blue sky that follows.
But winter is cold, often frigid, dark, and sometimes it seems like spring is just so far away.
One way to get through it is to get outside.
This is Snow Sculpting Week.
For the past 15 years, I've made a winter beauty for my Happy Snow Days greeting card that goes out in December. Sometimes I plan ahead and make one in January or February for the following year. Other times I take a chance and hope for snow early in November or December ... and it's always worked out.
Until it didn't.
For the first time in 15 years I didn't have a winter beauty for my winter greeting card. It was a mix of disappointment ... and relief.
Every year I shiver at the thought of going outside to start another ... afraid I won't come up with anything as good as what I've done before ... worried I won't find the right materials or create the right expression.
And it's cold.
Each one takes about two hours from start to finish.
I struggle with the thought of heading out into the cold and wring my hands and furrow my brow with concern. About halfway through, I have serious doubts. I take photos from the left and right to gain a better perspective ... to figure out what working, and what's not. Forage again for a different leaf, sprig, or twig to make the mouth right. Or the nose.
My fingers get stiff with the cold and by the time I'm done, the cold has reached my core.
Creating, making, and building things come with challenges. It's to be expected. With each winter beauty there was doubt, but when they were done, I felt a sense of accomplishment, glad I braved the cold and pushed aside my doubts.
But I cannot ignore that sense of relief I felt when it didn't snow.
So I've been mulling it over. ... will I make another, or have I done all I can do with them?
How do you know when to stop? When persistence no longer applies. When walking away from a project you've enjoyed is the right thing to do?
There's plenty of snow on the ground, but I'm not sure ...
We stopped to chAT
with the lady in the hAT.
She wAS, like us,
dressed foR the weaTHer ...
wHEther shE liked iT or nOT.
The weaTHer thAt is.
WhETHer it'S brISK and brIght
or gray like tOdAY,
we bUTTON and bOOT it.
Then we snAP, zIP, and
tUCK it, tOO.
bUT we'D qUIVER and shiVer
if thAT was aLL thAT.
So wE pAUSe and we pONDer
for thAT which iS thAT ...
WhERe's my hAT?
This poem came together over the course of a few days with the help of a thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary.
Both are helpful in similar and different ways. The rhyming dictionary does just what it sounds like, finds words that rhyme with one another ... in this case I was looking for words that rhyme with hat. Quiver and shiver came to me without the dictionary ... but maybe they were inspired by it?
The thesaurus is, I think, a sometimes overlooked tool for writing.
Word choice makes a difference.
I once wrote a post about Brussels sprouts that included a bit about a chef who appeared on a local television show ... he said he was going to "make" Brussel sprouts. It caught my attention because I thought, he's not going to "make" Brussels sprouts, he's going to (and here's where a thesaurus can help) bake, steam, or maybe roast them, but he's definitely not making them.
Choosing the right words not only makes your writing more interesting, it can lead to more accurate writing as well.
This week's story starter calendar got me started on hats and offers a nod to the thesaurus ... if you're not already, sign up today and get the calendar delivered, every week, straight to your inbox. And start writing.
Finding the right words
A friendly competition
We've got a friendly competition going here, and maybe you do too, in your household, with Wordle, or maybe with Jeopardy questions, a crossword puzzle, or board game like Scrabble.
Without fail, at some point during the day, one will ask if the other has done Wordle and log in with how many tries it took to get to the answer.
It's a friendly competition, though occasionally when I suggest I'm giving in because it's taking too long, I'm confronted with the challenge to hang in there.
I usually do, but really, it's suppose to be fun. If it becomes frustrating or it's taking too long, I'm all set.
A few of you let me know how well you did identifying all the states on the map of the U.S., so here's another challenge.
Tomorrow is Word Nerd Day, and I can say with pride, I am a word nerd.
Editing? Bring it on.
Spelling? Just ask.
Writing? It's hard to get started, but once I do ...
To celebrate Word Nerd Day, I'm sharing a blackout poetry exercise that's all about finding and choosing words.
Click on the image above, or here, print the pages and try it. And if you've got a friend who might be interested, share it with them. Chances are you'll have entirely different results ... it's surprising how many variations can come from the same text. And don't let the title, Holidays, put you off, it's not what you might be thinking.
And share your results, I'd love to see what you come up with. Note: the example above is not from the same text.
You can simply blackout the words you don't need, like I've done, or create a more illustrated version of blackout poetry, like some of these.
Happy New Year
The month of January is hobby month, and I decided to share my paper snowdrops because they're cheerful ... especially when photographed in the sunlight.
Turns out, snowdrops are also the flower of the month for January and, not surprising, they represent hope and rebirth. Excellent!
The flowers I make are the ones that capture my attention. It's that simple, really. There are no ulterior motives ... other than hoping I have the paper and supplies I need on hand ... and finding the instructions and tips I need to create them.
When I did the research on snowdrops, I held my breath, worried that the flower might symbolize something unfavorable. What then?
I was glad that the snowdrop represents hope and rebirth, but maybe I don't need to worry so much about it. Every flower I've researched has multiple meanings. Each one, in some way, symbolizes hope, love, and sorrow ... the very things life embodies.
Symbolism ... is it helpful or a hindrance?
Like flowers, the new year is full of symbolism ... endings and new beginnings, a fresh start.
Have you made resolutions? Yes. No?
Either way, maybe the best we can do is focus and apply ourselves to the things we want to create, do, or change; work at accepting what can't be changed; and in the meantime, pause to see the wonder that surrounds us.
The remarkable petals of a flower, the sound of the wind through the trees, the tears that come when you chop an onion, or the comfort found in a spoonful of warm soup when there's a chill in the air.
But most of all ... remember that starting or staying with something new is never easy, but persistence is key.
Happy New Year!
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Mother of six bakes cookies,
hides them in the washing machine.
As I study and experiment with different ways to tell stories, one method I'm experimenting with is telling a story in one sentence.
It seem like an easy task and in some ways it is, but the key is to use words that load your story with enough information to garner interest, build mystery, or add humor.
Of course I never knew my mother hid cookies in the washing machine.
It was a brilliant move.
After all, who was doing the wash?
Who was baking the cookies ... and maybe wanted to save one or two for herself?
And who didn't want to hear, "___ and ___ ate all the cookies and I didn't get any."?
Today is Bake Cookies Day. I've been baking a lot of cookies these last few weeks, and while I don't need to hide them, I do like to bundle them up and give them away.
The cookies in the photo above are Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies (note: I cut the 1-1/2 cup sugar measure to 1 cup in the batter and they're plenty sweet). Oatmeal Raisin are always popular and remain one of my all-time favorites (note: I don't add the cinnamon).
And this time of year, I do like a Pfefferneusse cookie, though I'm looking for a new, spicier recipe than the one I've been using ... if you have one would you share it? Thanks.
One sentence memoir
Are you a baker or a cook? How many stories could you bring to life in one sentence?
The bagels were good, but it was the dog biscuits that kept me going back to the bakery in the square where they made fresh-out-of-the-oven dog biscuits along with bagels, cookies, and cakes.
So it became a routine after our walk on the other side of town to stop at the bakery for a bagel and a biscuit on our way home.
I'd park the car and as I got out, say, "Time for treats."
And she'd track my every step ... from the car to the bakery door and back again.
When I returned to the car, she'd thump, thump, thump her wagging tail against the seat back and quiver with anticipation. Leaning forward she'd press her nose between the front row seats and sniff the air as I put my coffee in the cup holder and reach into the small white bag for the treats ... mine and hers.
Until the day there were none.
Dog biscuits that is. Sold out they said.
When I returned to the car, I put the coffee in the cup holder, and said, "Sorry, Ag, no biscuits today."
She let out a whimper.
"I know," I said, "I'm sorry."
And she whimpered again ... and again.
So I reached into my pocket to offer up a dry, everyday, boring biscuit that I called a treat but knew, today, it really wasn't. Bakery biscuits were the real treat, and she knew it.
I reached back and held the biscuit steady for her to take it from my hand as she had so many times before.
But not today.
No. She turned her head to left, lifted her nose, closed her eyes, and went silent.
There would be no more wagging, no more whining, and certainly no substitutions.
Read more of my adventures with Agatha ...
The half-eaten frosted Pop-Tart with sprinkles sat on a napkin on the cashier's stool.
I was second in line at the fish market and when I stepped forward, the Pop-Tart popped into my line of sight.
It was undeniable ... the shape, the color, the size ... it was a Pop-Tart.
"It's been a long time since I've had a Pop-Tart," I said to the cashier.
"Me too," she said. "It was gifted to me by a friend."
We both laughed.
"Is it from a bakery?" I asked.
"No, it's real," she said.
And we laughed again.
I asked if it was real because there are bakeries that recreate nostalgic favorites ... like the Ring Ding A Ling at one of my favorite local bakeries. Ring Dings were a rare, favorite treat when I was a kid ... especially when they were wrapped in foil.
Tomorrow is Comfort Food Day and while a Pop-Tart might not be my first choice ... and guessing from the cashier's laughter, unlikely to be hers either, we both enjoyed the nostalgia it generated.
What are your comfort food favorites?
Seems I've got a hankering for a Ring Ding ... foil or no foil.
Ordering off the menu ...
It was on the menu ... the adult menu, not the children's menu.
And I wanted it.
French toast with a schmear of peanut butter, topped with sliced bananas, maple syrup, and whipped cream.
It was what I wanted, but it seemed so decadent, childish even, for a young woman having brunch with her new in-laws to order something like that.
An omelet, or even pancakes it seemed, would make a better impression, be more mature. But the omelets, the pancakes, the over-easy eggs, even the crispy home fries couldn't hold my attention.
So I ordered it.
French toast with a schmear of peanut butter, topped with sliced bananas, maple syrup, and whipped cream.
It was delicious.
A layered sugar bomb sweetened with my father-in-law's delight ... at the thought of it when I placed my order, and the sight of it when it came to the table.
I sometimes wonder if he, too, wanted to order the French toast with a schmear of peanut butter, topped with sliced bananas, maple syrup, and whipped cream, decided not to ... but was pleased someone else did.
Glad it was me.
Tomorrow is National French Toast Day ... how do you like yours?
We once went apple picking and needed a map to find the place. Days later, I drew a simple one, this is how it started.
Maps (and geography) came up again this week with the question of where one state was situated within the United States.
We weren't sure.
So the challenge was presented ... how many states on a blank map of the United States could you place? We challenged one another.
I was certain I'd get most of them. He wasn't convinced he (nor I could place them).
Turns out he was right.
Living in the Northeast, I was able to identify all the states around Maine ... and along the east coast and west coast.
A few others like, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Idaho I got because I remembered them by their unique shape. Buy Idaho potatoes and chances are, there's an image of the state on the bag. Same here in Maine.
It was in the middle of the country where things got muddled.
It's Geography Awareness Week ... so how do you think you'd do identifying each state?
I created a printable blank map you can download. It's a two-page PDF ... page one has all the states, but is blank, page two identifies each state. Try not to look at that until you've tried filling in the blanks.
And if you need help, engage someone and start a conversation ... after all, it's Better Conversation Week. Or, send a map to a friend and challenge them, too.
In the spirit of National Game and Puzzle Week, use the map to create other challenges ... identify all the states you've lived in or traveled through, or see if you can list the capitol of each ... or quote the state slogan, or identify the state flower or bird.
Years ago I landed a job to design a button and produce 150 copies. I can't remember what the buttons were for or what they said, but when I did my research, purchasing a hand-press button machine (with 1,000 blanks) wasn't much more expensive than ordering custom buttons from a vendor.
I thought ... wow, I can make my own buttons.
What's the saying ... the more you buy the more you save? Hmmm.
The top button, Girls Rule! is my favorite. It was from a button-making afternoon with some tweens ... a gift from one of the participants.
The vote buttons are from a set of four that represent amendments to the Constitution related to voting. I created and gave them away before the 2008 election ... and still hear from people on election day saying they wore their button to the polls. Well done.
The small buttons are ones I've purchased, found, or picked up in giveaways.
All part of a collection.
Thursday is National Button Day ... not so much for button pins, but buttons for clothes.
And there's a collection of those, too.
It's a utilitarian thing ... can't throw away a perfectly good button even if I'm not sure when, or if, I'll ever use it.
Occasionally I dump the button jar to see what's in there and spot the yellow sunburst buttons I cut from the wrap skirt I wore that summer after high school.
And the metal buttons with the embossed swirls I cut from the wool sweater I wore until the elbows had holes and the yarn unraveled from the cuffs.
Maybe that's why we collect things.
It's like collecting memories.
It's Daylight Saving Time today ... and I'm reminded of my night in the house of clocks ...
When the cuckoo chimes
I once spent the night in a house that had a cuckoo clock and a grandfather clock ... and I didn't sleep a wink.
The cuckoo clock chirped every hour on the hour, and again every half hour.
The grandfather clock was set to strike four times an hour:
- every hour on the hour
- at a quarter past the hour
- at the half hour
- and once again at a quarter to the hour
I tossed and turned all night.
My mind reeling not so much from the different chimes, but from my inability to fix a pattern to the sounds of the cuckoo clock and the grandfather clock ... I didn’t know a grandfather clock sounds four(!) times an hour.
On one of our more recent walks, we scuffed through a walkway littered with pine cones. The kind of pine cones that hang from a cuckoo clock and make it tick.
My grandparents had a cuckoo clock with pine cone weights, and that cuckoo clock where I spent the night had them, too.
I’d always seen the weights and the clocks as one.
But when I saw so many pine cones scattered across the walkway, I saw them as the cuckoo-clock maker must have seen them, inspiration for the weights and keeping time.
If you like the cuckoo clock bird collage, grab the Hello Chickadee! printable stationery set. It includes the cuckoo clock image, a chickadee, and feathers, too.
What's all the crowing about ... do the research to know what you're writing about
When I decided to do a post about crows, I realized there were myths and stereotypes about crows I didn't understand.
I wondered ... Why do crows have such a bad rap?
Did the sight of my cut-out crow in the bush give you the shivers?
Is it because they're big and black and fly in large, boisterous groups.
Maybe it's the call of the crow.
When I made cut-out crow silhouettes for Halloween decorations I decided to do the research. Why are they symbols of this ghoulish holiday?
For one thing, they're scavengers. They eat dead things. Yes, that's creepy.
And the silhouette ... a crow in cemetery on a gravestone.
But really, they go to the cemetery to perch in the tall trees, and feed on insects where the grass is mowed ... easy pickings.
And bad optics ... gravestones and silhouettes.
Or maybe it's because they remember faces.
Oh, yes, do something nasty to a crow and it will remember you ... and tell its friends. No hiding from a crow.
So that's the rap. But it's not the whole story.
Sure, they'll hold a grudge if they are treated poorly, but likewise ... do something nice for a crow and it will remember that. But beware, I'm not sure a good deed will cancel the bad ... they remember.
They help one another, travel in family flocks, are loyal partners, and use tools like sticks to get things done.
Crows are smart. Really smart.
The question is ... are we smart enough to push aside the myth and bad optics to see them for what they are ... big beautiful birds.
A recipe for memoir: stories filled with ingredients you can measure ... and some you can't
The request is always the same. Birthday pie, not cake. And this year, apple pie. If I had to choose, I'd probably go with mincemeat (the dried fruit version).
I might choose mincemeat as my pie of choice to eat, but when it's comes to making pie ... blueberry, pumpkin, mincemeat, cherry, or key lime, it's the apple that gets my attention.
It's the one overflowing with ingredients that can't be measured.
The one that makes me think of my mum peeling ribbons of peel with each apple. And my grandmother ... whose voice neared a whisper when she told me she used only half the white sugar measure, instead balancing it with half brown sugar, despite what the recipe called for.
And when I make the crust I think of my friend who is a baker. She adds a splash a vinegar. And another, who shared her mother's recipe that includes an egg.
I'd never added an egg to my pie crust. Yesterday I decided to give it a try.
What a pie! It's delicious. My best ever, I think.
The crust is flaky and tender and the filling as sweet as ever. It's the perfect blend of ingredients ... some that can be measured and so many others that can't.
Recipes we love, remember, and share offer endless story ideas.
Share your experiences with traditional foods, comfort foods, that recipe your friend won't share, or that recipe fail ... we all have them.
Share your stories in a narrative poem, short essay, or a chapter in that book you want to write.
But before you go, how do you like your apple pie ... with a side of vanilla ice cream, or maybe like "M", with a few slices of sharp cheddar?
A picture book memoir of Agatha, nose-to-the-ground, scent sniffing basset hound who loved to walk ... and stop and sniff.
A beautifully illustrated book for dog-lovers of all ages.
"... We love everything about it. Dogs, nature, and phenomenally innovative art! Well done."
The trouble with Angela Lansbury
When things appear to be stacked against you, think again
Since the death this week of actor Angela Lansbury, there have been tributes, articles, and stories about her life. Not surprising, given her decades-long career that touched generations of loyal fans.
She was an award-winning movie, television, and theater actor, as well as the voice of Mrs. Potts, the talking tea pot in the animated film, "Beauty and the Beast."
In reading and listening to the tributes, I was struck at how often her looks were mentioned. ... by her and others.
One article stated, "She may have lacked the classic good looks and voice of her era, but ...."
And another quoted Lansbury: "I wasn't very good at being a starlet," she said. "I didn't want to pose for cheesecake photos and that kind of thing."
Works for me, I don't like cheesecake.
And evidently, it worked for her.
By all accounts she was a successful and respected actor. But she was also passed over for roles and awards she hoped to win.
But she didn't give up.
It can be so easy to judge ourselves against the expectations of others. What's beautiful, who's pretty. Who has won awards, who hasn't.
And to think or worry that it matters.
It's hard to know how Lansbury really felt about her looks and how she was judged. But in the end, as she said, "I was a primarily an actress and not a pretty face."
She was an actor who wanted to act.
And she did that by taking roles that came her way. By doing the work. Because you never know where it might lead ... and because it may, as Lansbury said, "turn out to be the thing that will lead you to the role which is sublime."
I found all the commentary about Lansbury's looks discouraging. But now I see that in her willingness to talk about her looks and how she was perceived, she taught us something.
Whether you yearn to act, paint, write, cook, sew, sing, hike, run, or swim, focus on doing just that.
Ignore the naysayers ... and the looks and success of others.
Do the thing you want to do ... it's the best way to get to where you want to be.
Ideas for making the most of the time between the things you have to do for the things you want to do