A Watercolor Stargazer Lily

stargazer lily 4

A sweet friend told me one of her favorite flowers is the Stargazer Lily and “challenged” me to paint one.

First thing I had to do was “google” what a Stargazer Lily is!

Then I tried to paint one.

stargazer lily 3

I struggled with this flower, and ended up doing several versions thinking each time I would be happy with the result.

stargazer lily 1

But, alas, I am still not sure I am completely happy with any of these, and I’m not sure my friend will be either, but I decided to share them and see what you think.

stargazer lily 2

Do you have a favorite?  Do you like any of them?

After drawing and trying the first one (#3) with a background and then the second one (#4) in a little different style and without the background a couple of days ago, Sunday morning I drew this darn flower again and came up with my third rendition (#2).

Still not happy, I decided to just slap some water and paint on the paper without drawing it first, and I created my fourth version (#1) in about 10 minutes, and I think it’s my favorite.  But when showing my hubby and youngest son all four, they each chose a different one!  LOL!

I still don’t think I have even come close to capturing/mastering this beautiful flower, but here it is Tonya.  If you like one of them, let me know, and it will be on it’s way.

Any artists out there mastered the Stargazer Lily?  The challenge of this one for me was the lighter colored outer edges of the flower I think.  I would love to hear any tips!

Cheers & Hugs,


The Oriole Feeder

baltimore oriole fledgling

I was so excited to buy an Oriole feeder for the hubby for Father’s Day [ahem], so we he could watch the beautiful orange birds that we have occasionally seen in our backyard.

That first day we hung it out, this beautiful young fledgling appeared.

“Score!” I thought.  And a Big Woohoo!

But, alas, we poor hubby hasn’t seen another since.

I guess they moved on to Baltimore with those silly Ravens…  (Football (Steelers!) fans – you know what I am talking about here.)


hummingbird at oriole feeder

the hummingbirds are enjoying it!

And so are we is hubby…

(ok – maybe that Father’s Day present was a little for Momma too – tee hee hee!)

But mostly – it’s all for the birds!

Cheers & Hugs,



This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is “Muse.”

The goal is to post a photo of a subject that keeps you coming back?  I have to admit…  I’ve become a bit of a “backyard bird nerd.”  So I thought an appropriate photo(s) to share would be one from our backyard menagerie.

So Sweet


I have always loved mailing cards to family and friends.  It is such a simple way to bring such great joy.

Who doesn’t love receiving a special card or note in the mail amidst all the bills and “junk?”

Electronic communication is quicker and easier and more immediate (and I am all about that!), but knowing that someone took the time to choose, or even better yet make a special card, hand write a note, address the envelope, adhere postage, and take to the mailbox or post office, is quite flattering – right?

My BFF Jill makes the most amazing handmade cards, and I am always so thrilled when I find an envelope in the mail with her handwriting on the envelope.

I hope people feel that way when they receive a card from me.

I hope they feel the love.

I hope they appreciate the time and effort.

I hope it makes them feel special.

That is why it is such a thrill for me to be a Guest Designer for the Design Team at The Paper Players and make a card each week to inspire others to create and share this joy.

pp251 sketch challenge

This week’s challenge is a sketch challenge based on the photo above.  We get to make whatever we want that closely resembles this sketch inspiration.

pp251 inside

I used this as an opportunity to create a “thank you” card.

There are so many people I could send this card to….

I truly believe one of the best ways to feel gratitude is to think of all the special sweet things people do that “make your day.”

It doesn’t have to be something big…

It could be a stranger’s smile…

a word of encouragement…

a compliment…

a gesture of kindness…

The happiest people are those that see and appreciate these cherished moments.

It is so good for the soul to take time to realize these sweet gestures, and even grander when you have the opportunity to reciprocate or give thanks and appreciate.

pp251 flat

So I will look forward to sending this card to a special sweet someone who made my day.

And I hope I’ve inspired you in a small way to show gratitude, appreciate kindness, and cherish the moments.

I used the following materials to create this card:

  • StampinUp Hello Life Stamp Set, Best Day Ever Stamp Set, Bloom with Hope Stamp Set
  • StampinUp Whisper White, Black and Gray Card Stock and Timeless Elegance Designer Series Paper
  • Sakura Koi Water color paint for flower
  • Pearl Embellishments

Wishing you a Sweet Day!

Cheers & Hugs,

Milk Chocolate Caramel-Filled Chip Cookies

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies Stacked

If you give a mouse a cookie….

He’s going to ask for a glass of milk.

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies and Milk 2

And then he’ll probably want a straw.

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies

As I was looking at these shots of my latest twist on chocolate chip cookies, I couldn’t help but be reminded of that fun children’s book.

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies Stacked 2

Especially after this stack – I kept thinking… more – More – MORE!

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies and Milk

I bake chocolate chip cookies A  LOT.

I’m kinda known for it.

Especially with our sons’ friends.

And I love the joy it brings – the smiles they create – the happy tummies – the grateful hugs.

But I get bored with the same old thing, so I am always looking for a way to change them up a bit – as you may have noticed if you’ve been hanging out here at LifeinBetween.me for any length of time…  (Fresh Raspberry Chocolate Chips, Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies, Peanut Butter White Chocolate Chip…)

This latest version was a BIG HIT!

Instead of semi-sweet morsels, I used the new Nestle Toll House Delightfulls Caramel Filled Morsels.

Could you just die?!!?

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chips in a cookie!!

I used my tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe – subbing these DELIGHTFULL morsels for the regular chocolate chips.

Easy Peasy – and guaranteed to be a Big Hit with whoever you decide to share these with!

And PS – I had forgotten how amazing a chocolate chip cookie tastes dunked in milk!     I have not done that in ages, but sampled a bite after this “photo shoot.”

Grab a glass of cold milk – even if it is Skim – and DUNK!

Pure delight!

Kicked Up Milk Chocolate & Caramel Chip Cookies

Ingredients:Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies Stacked 2

4 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
2 9-oz bags Nestle Toll House Delightfulls Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Morsels


With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and salt, and mix another minute. Gradually add flour and beat until well incorporated, but do not overbeat.

Fold in chocolate caramel morsels. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With your hands, form a cookie dough ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on baking stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on baking stone for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Cheers & Chocolatey Caramely Hugs,


Happy Retirement to a Dear Friend

Too Kind Congratulations Retirement Card Bev

Today I will be celebrating the retirement of a sweet friend I work with, and I wanted to make her a special card.

Too Kind Congratulations Retirement Card Bev 2

I used some new DSP (Designer Series Paper) from StampinUp (SU) that has fun polka dots on one side and sweet handwritten happy words on the other side.  I was feeling purpley for my friend and used the SU “Too Kind” Stamp Set to stamp the flowers and my favorite “Sentiment Sampler” from Lil’ Inkers for the Congratulations sentiment.  A couple pearls for embellishment and a few off-balance layers of framing in black finished up my card.

Too Kind Congratulations Retirement Card Bev 3

I sure will miss this workplace “girlfriend”  (as she is famous for calling everyone – expect for the men who she typically fondly referred to as “boyfriends”).

And that she was…

and hopefully will remain…

Everyone’s bestest “girlfriend.”

Happy Retirement Beverly!

Cheers & Hugs,


Gold Finch Mountains to Climb

gold finch watercolor card

After painting Spooky earlier this week, I still felt like doing more.

I was on a watercolor roll.

So while the paints and brushes were still out,

I saw a Youtube video by The Frugal Crafter.

Lindsay made painting a gold finch

look like a cinch.

So I made the one above.

Then I felt like Jodi’ing it up a teensy tinch,

which meant loosening it up and splattering a pinch.

So I went at it again – on my own this time.

That’s why this original is having a bit of a bad hair day…

Oh dear…..

I sure have mountains to climb!

gold finch watercolor bad hair day

Cheers & Hugs,


Just let it roll off your back

Brown Headed Cowbird, Mars, PA

Brown Headed Cowbird, Mars, PA

The brown-headed cowbird is another member of the menagerie that hangs out in our backyard.  Our son Nick claims this is his favorite.

The cool thing about this bird is the iridescent nature of its silky black body.  Sometimes he looks blue or purple depending on the lighting or angle. Such a beauty he is – eh?

The other day when it was pouring down rain, he was perched so regally above the feeder with the rain just rolling off his slick, drenched feathers.

He didn’t seem to mind at all, and I thought about the great lessons we can learn from nature…

about letting go of negative…

letting adversity just roll off our backs…

standing tall and proud no matter the circumstances….

looking good even with wet hair… 😉

Singing and dancing in the rain…

Thanks Mr. Cowbird!

Cheers & Hugs,

Remembering Spooky

black cat watercolor card

Our dear daughter-in-law lost a special beloved furry buddy this weekend.

My heart breaks for her as this is her first experience losing a pet.

I thought of her all day yesterday and wanted to do something special, so I decided to try to draw and watercolor a photo she posted in memory of Spooky and make it into a card last night.

This is my first try at doing a cat, and he sure doesn’t look exactly like sweet Spooky.  But hopefully it is close enough to give Colleen a little remembrance and show her how much I love her and ache for her loss.

Hugs & Sweet Memories,


Old Fashioned Peach Dumplings

peach dumpling

What is better than a warm apple dumpling with a scoop of vanilla ice cream?

How about an old-fashioned peach dumpling with ice cream and peach brandy in the caramel sauce?!?!

peach dumpling 4

O M G are these amazing!

Hubby loves peach pie, and I had some peaches getting very ripe on the kitchen counter Father’s Day morning.

peach dumpling 1

So I decided to make him this special treat of flaky pie crust wrapped around sweet juicy fresh peaches stuffed with brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and vanilla and drizzled with a creamy, caramely, brandy infused sauce.

Is that Merv a lucky guy or what??!!

peach dumpling 2

It was a great weekend, beginning with my boss winning Entrepreneur of the Year Friday evening at a gala I was so fortunate to attend with him and some of our colleagues and friends, and ending with having the kids over for Father’s Day.

Our oldest son, Jake, grilled an amazing pork tenderloin he marinated in fresh herbs and lemon, and he also brought over his homemade macaroni salad (one of hubby’s faves).  Our  daughter-in-law, Colleen, brought hubby more goodies – homemade apricot turnovers and homemade cinnamon swirl bread.  He’ll be set for a while!  And this is all after being treated out to breakfast at one of his favorite spots with our youngest son, Nick.

Unfortunately, I ended up getting some kind of nasty “crud.”  It started Friday evening at the gala when my voice started going and my throat got scratchy and sore.  I woke up Saturday morning with my right eye sealed shut, coughing up a storm, and absolutely no voice.  I tried to take it easy, and we had to cancel Saturday evening dinner plans with friends.

I’m still feeling pretty punk, but oh well – still bucked up and prepared this yummy treat and enjoyed visiting with the family and playing Cranium and laughing way too much!  Did you ever try to do a humdinger challenge with no voice?!  Thank goodness whistling worked!

peach dumpling 3

But back to these amazing peach dumplings…

I am the queen of improvising in recipes and had not had a chance to go to the grocery store this weekend feeling like I did, so when the recipe I found (at A Flock in the City) called for heavy cream in the sauce and I had none in the refrigerator, I decided to try substituting vanilla ice cream.  Where there is a will there is a way!  And I’m not sure I’d do it any other way after this!!  I made a few other tweaks – using my own standby pie crust recipe, blanching and peeling the skin from the peaches, leaving out the nutmeg, and adjusting a few quantities of sugar and butter, but I really liked this recipe I found.

peach dumpling

Hubby loved them, so I’m glad I made this treat for him.  I also got him a new bird feeder – a Squirrel Buster (thanks for the recommendation Jo) and an Oriole feeder, so the birds are sure having a good time.

The squirrel however…..  well – just watch this video (thanks Nick for allowing me to share!)

Old Fashioned Peach Dumplings


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup peach brandy
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and blanch peaches for 2 minutes.  Immediately remove to ice water.  The skin will slip right off to peel the peaches.
  • Cut peaches in half and remove pit.
  • Roll out pie crust and cut into 6 squares (approx 4″ x 4″) or large enough to wrap peaches
  • Place one peach half in center of each square, and fill with brown sugar and cinnamon, a dollop of butter, and a drizzle of vanilla.
  • Place second half of peach on top, and wrap entire stuffed peach with dough – sealing to keep juices in.
  • Place in 9 x 13 rectangular baking stone or dish.
  • Prepare sauce by melting brown sugar and butter.  Bring to a boil.
  • Add vanilla ice cream and stir until melted and boiling again.
  • Add peach brandy, and continue boiling for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add vanilla and salt.
  • Pour sauce into bottom of baking dish around dumplings.
  • Bake at 450 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.
  • Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream.

Hope you all had a nice weekend celebrating Fathers and families.

Cheers & Hugs,


Punny Father’s Day


My Father’s Day card for hubby was inspired by The Paper Players Clean & Simple (CAS) Summer Treats Theme (PP250).

pp250 1

I love this punny stamp set from WPlus9 , and I have featured it a couple of times in the past here and here.

pp250 inside

What better summer treat is there than fresh ripe juicy tomatoes, and what better summer celebration than to honor our Dads for Father’s Day.

I’m looking forward to sharing the day with the family.

Wishing you a day spent with those YOU love from YOUR head to YOUR toes!

Cheers & Happy Father’s Day Hugs,