Gusho over Brusho

brusho 1

Brusho seems to be quite the rage these days.

brusho 3

Brusho Crystal Colours are brilliant, intense transparent color crystals that are great for painting, color washes, staining, and creative textile design on porous surfaces such as paper, wood, and fabric.

brusho 6

I thought I’d just do a little experimenting with the colors and the way they work.  A couple sprinkles of the crystals before and/or after spritzing with water created these basic designs.

brusho 2

Nothing complex or intricate – just testing them out and seeing how they work.  So these are just some simple experiments, but oh the possibilities that are running through my head.

brusho 5

In trying different combinations and amounts, I learned quickly that a very little goes a long way.  What great effects might be possible combining these with watercolor painting, stamping, embossing, sewing, woodworking!??!!

brusho 4

Oh so many possibilities….
and oh so little time…

Make it count…
doing the things you love…
at life in between.

Cheers and Happy Friday Hugs,

Chicken Caprese Penne Pasta

chicken caprese penne pasta

I had a rotisserie chicken in the refrigerator that I purchased grocery shopping a day or two earlier.  I knew it would be good to have on hand for picking at or making a quick dinner.

foodie dice chicken caprese penne pasta

Looking for some inspiration, I thought I’d bring out the Foodie Dice and see what creativity I could stimulate for dinner.

fresh chopped tomatoes

I have to admit I cheated and made the chicken dice happen.  But when I rolled, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and pasta….

fresh basil

Caprese came to mind and came to dinner plate.

goat cheese

I didn’t have any fresh mozzarella on hand, but I did have some yummy goat cheese that makes a glorious quick and easy creamy pasta sauce.

rotisserie chicken

And the rotisserie chicken became the star of the evening.

chicken caprese penne pasta
This was so quick and easy, but SO SO SO SO SO to die for delicious.  I have to admit I sort of moaned (and bragged!) while eating it….

Though quick and easy, I must say this dish could be served for company – and I just may do that.

If you don’t have a rotisserie chicken on hand or available, you could simply roast a chicken or saute some chicken breasts and/or thighs to use.

Thanks to the roll of the Foodie Dice for this yummy dinner.

Chicken Caprese Penne Pasta

Ingredients:chicken caprese penne pasta

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and chopped
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 5-6 campari tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook penne pasta in salted water for 8-10 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of water.
  • Saute garlic in olive oil, then stir in chicken.
  • To drained pasta, add crumbled goat cheese and reserved cup of pasta water.  Stir to incorporate and melt cheese.
  • Add chicken and garlic, fresh tomatoes, and basil.  Toss to combine.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. 


Cheers & Hugs,


Watercolor Hummingbird Card

watercolor hummingbird card

Monday’s Hummingbird Cake Recipe  post had me thinking of hummingbirds,
so I decided to try my hand at watercolor painting one.

I lightly outlined the basic shape in pencil,
filled it in with some clean, clear water,
then loosely dropped in some paint.

When I was mostly pleased with it, and it was dry,
I adhered it to some vanilla card stock and made it into a little card.

Today my wish for you
is that you find some time
to do things you love
with people you love (even if that is yourself!)
at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,


Hummingbird Cake

hummingbird cake 6

Have you ever heard of Hummingbird Cake?

Well – it is one of my Dad’s faves…

So I decided I was going to give it a try for his birthday.

hummingbird cake 2

This sweet, dense, banana, pineapple and pecan smothered cake is not for the faint of heart!  A thin slice goes a long way!

It reminds me of carrot cake with its thick layers of cream cheese frosting between the three layers of decadent delightfulness.

But WHY is it called Hummingbird Cake?

hummingbird cake 5

Considering the key ingredients – bananas and pineapple – this famously southern cake is thought to have been invented in Jamaica in the late 1960s.

It was originally called the “Doctor Bird Cake,” nicknamed after a Jamaican variety of hummingbird called the Red-billed Streamertail. The name came from the way the bird’s long beak probes flowers, like a doctor inspecting a patient.

But what does that have to do with a pineapple and banana cake?  According to Celebrity Chef, Jamie Oliver’s website, some say the cake was named after the bird because it was sweet enough to attract hummingbirds (who eat only nectar), while others say the yellow streaks of banana are reminiscent of the bird’s plumage.

In 1968, the Jamaican tourist board decided to try attracting tourists by sending out press kits to the US. In the packs were a few recipes from the island, including one for the Doctor Bird Cake. Shortly thereafter, similar recipes started to crop up in local papers and community cookbooks across the South.

Most food historians agree the first printed recipe for Hummingbird cake was by Mrs. L. H. Wiggin. She supplied the recipe to Southern Living magazine in February 1978.  Even before then, however, there were countless references to the cake in county fair reports and baking competitions across Southern America.

hummingbird cake 3

This is a really lovely special occasion cake for that someone special in your life.

hummingbird cake 4

And it freezes well to save individual servings for just when you need that something special for a guest or yourself.

hummingbird cake 1

I sure enjoyed sharing a slice with Dad and Mom II and hubby yesterday – and then leaving the rest with them, so I am not tempted to eat more!

I’d love to hear if you are familiar with this cake or if you make it and how it differs from the recipe I found that is the “Most requested recipe in Southern Living Magazine history.”

Hummingbird Cake

Ingredients:hummingbird cake 3

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups chopped ripe bananas
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
    • 2 (8-ounce) pkgs cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 1 (32-ounce) bag powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.

Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

While cake is cooling, prepare cream cheese frosting by combining softened cream cheese and butter with electric mixer until creamy.  Slowly add powdered sugar until incorporated and desired consistency.  Stir in vanilla until combined.

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Store in refrigerator.

Enjoy this special cake!

Cheers & Hugs,


Happy Birthday Dad!

PP249 Birthday Color Challenge

It’s time for another Paper Players Challenge Guest Designer Post.  This week’s challenge (PP249) is a color theme using Real Red and Blue Shades of Pool Party and Indigo Blue.


My Dad’s birthday is coming up in a few days, and we are going to visit him today to celebrate, so I thought I would use the opportunity to create a birthday card for him.

PP249 Birthday Color Challenge 3

Instead of using those colors in ink, I used them in creating shapes and cut-outs of some beautiful StampinUp designer series paper (DSP) with the StampinUp Star Framelits Dies.

PP249 Birthday Color Challenge 2

I wanted to give it a bit of a “vintagy” look too, so I sponged each piece with Tim Holtz Tea-Dye Distress Ink.  I popped the stars and sentiment (from Paper Smooches Sentiment Sampler) on with some dimensionals.

Looking forward to celebrating Dad’s birthday and Father’s Day with him today.

Love you Dad!

Cheers & Hugs,



A Love Story…

woodpecker love affair

They are so romantic…
it is better than a rare love story film.

They each peck at the feed for a moment or two,
then meet up in the middle to peck each other.

You say one is feeding the other,
but I see them each feed themselves.

Some say why feed them in the summer
when they can find their own food.

But then I would miss this kissing…
Woodpeckers falling in love.

Cheers and Hugs and Woodpecker Kisses,

This photo is being shared in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Off Season

PS  On my daily morning call with my Dad yesterday morning, I was telling him about how cute these woodpeckers are eating and “kissing.”  As we were talking, a woodpecker flew by him on his porch.  We were watching the woodpeckers at the same time in our homes an hour apart.  He asked, “Why haven’t we seen a picture of it yet?”  You see, he reads my blog every day, and we often talk about it.  So here it is Dad!  I ❤ You!

An Iris Watercolor Experiment

watercolor iris experiment

The other evening, after hubby went to bed, I had the urge to paint.  I didn’t know what I  wanted to paint, and I didn’t feel like putting any effort into it…. I simply wanted to paint.

Watercolor Iris Card 1

So I just grabbed some scrap pieces of watercolor paper and decided to try irises – very abstract irises…  Not sure if you can even tell that is what they are (except I gave you a hint in the title of this post!).

Watercolor Iris Card 2

I literally only spent about 15 minutes on all five of these “paintings” – one rather large that I started with, followed by four smaller ones.

Watercolor Iris Card 3

I just starting mixing colors and splashing it on – spending about 3 minutes tops on each.

Watercolor Blue Thistle Card

After a few irises, I did do this other “flower” – supposed to be those blue thistly things you see growing alongside the road.  (Maybe called blue thistles?)

Watercolor Iris Large

As you can see, I was being completely “loose” with all of these.  I just ripped scraps of paper and painted.

Some I like… others not so much… But I went to bed happy, feeling like I had this opportunity to unwind and “express.”

When I awoke the next morning, I realized this could be a little gift set of sorts.  I simply adhered the small ones – all about 3.5 x 5 inches onto card stock and the larger onto a sheet of 8.5 x 11 inch black card stock, which I could frame.  The gift could be four blank floral note cards and a framed floral picture.

I’m trying to discover my “style” in this.  I’m getting comfortable with small single items, but can’t even begin to imagine taking on a landscape or cityscape or detailed painting like so many others can that I admire.  Maybe someday, but then again maybe not.

I do have to say I felt satiated after completing – or was it the Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade I was sipping while painting…. ?


Cheers & Happy Friday Hugs,


Who Needs an Office with a Window?

…when you are fortunate enough to work from a home office.

I often start out early in the morning on the back deck where the morning sun is bright and warm.

home office back deck

But when it gets too hot there, I move to the side porch for some shade,

home office side porch

or the front porch to swing a bit while typing.

home office front porch

Sometimes it’s necessary to work in THE actual home office…

home office

but I also might sit at the kitchen table,

home office kitchen table

or more often stand at the kitchen counter,

home office kitchen counter

or even curl up on the couch.

home office couch

And though I so terribly miss my little four-legged co-worker, buddy, and pal, Mikey who was constantly by my side,

Mikey and the ice

many of you have asked about our new neighbor, the baby cardinal.

baby cardinal day 2

Well – she visits often.  She has learned to eat from the feeders and is growing fast.

baby girl cardinal growing up
Isn’t she cute?!

She hangs out with the menagerie of other cardinals, goldfinches, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, orioles, and all the others that flutter about in our backyard.

So who needs an office with a window – eh?

I am so fortunate to have my office at home tweet home.

Cheers & Hugs,


(Some of you commented about enjoying my “behind the scenes” photo the other day, so I thought you might enjoy a few more behind the scene photos.)