Full Moon Calling

Full Moon Raven Watercolor 8x10

Full Moon Raven Watercolor 8×10

Full Moon Calling.

When I saw a recent painting done by a favorite artist/blogger friend, Sharon Mann at Make Art… Magic Happens, I told her I loved it so much, it made me want to paint it.

Sweet Sharon encouraged me to do it!

And so I did – and here it is….. A painting I did at 4AM one morning last week when I couldn’t sleep.

Be sure to check out Sharon’s absolutely amazing original version of this, which she titled, Call of the Raven.    Sharon has a style very different from mine, but one I absolutely adore and admire.  I love the texture she creates.  I love the whimsy of her style.  I love the range of subjects she chooses to explore and create.  And to top it off, she is simply a lovely person!

Sharon was one of the first to send an absolutely amazing handmade gift when I learned I was to become a grandma over a year ago.  She painted a photo of a batch of my cookies and gifted me with the beautiful piece of art that has graced my kitchen wall for several years now.  She was one of the first few dozen people to purchase my first published children’s book – and then share it to her friends.

About a year ago, Sharon lost her husband and best friend.  It was a life-altering experience for her, and she took a break from blogging until just a few weeks ago.  It is so wonderful to have her back blogging and inspiring so many of us artist wannabees!

Thank you for allowing me to paint your art Sharon.  I enjoyed it immensely!  Thank you for your inspiration, encouragement, but most of all  your friendship.

Be sure to check out Sharon’s blog.  You are in for a real treat and a wonderful new friend!

Cheers &  Hugs,


A Painting for a Proud Grandpa

Wayne's Pride & Joy - 10x12 Watercolor

Wayne’s Pride & Joy – 10×12 Watercolor

A sweet friend of mine is a very proud Grandpa.
He shared one of his favorite photos on his iPhone with me last week.
These are two of his grandchildren.

I believe this was at Halloween
when they were dressed as a fire fighter and a police officer
leaning on a fire hydrant
watching the community parade.

I hope he enjoys this sweet surprise and it brings him joy,
because it would be hard to image a greater joy than that of being a grandparent.

Cheers & Hugs,

P.S. Here is the iPhone photo Wayne shared.


Krautfest 2016!


This past weekend was one of my favorites of the year!  Time for the annual Brugnoli Family and Friends Krautfest Party!

Those of you who have been hanging around here awhile, might remember Krautfest 2015 or even Krautfest 2014.

The festivities kicked off this past Saturday in the beautiful Autumn weather at  Conneaut Lake, PA with our dear “Oh Rob” welcoming guests and instructing newcomers on the sauerkraut-making process.


It starts with cutting….  800 lbs of cabbage cutting!


The cut cabbage goes to the shredders, where experienced cutters teach newbies on equipment passed down through generations from grandparents…


and taught to new generations – where Moms teach sons…


and sisters show brothers….


and families do together.


It then gets measured,


and salted,


and pounded…


while friends and family chat,


and laugh,


and hug.


Old friends meet up after decades.


and new relationships bloom.


There is plenty of fun for kids of all ages!


From Jumbo Jenga…


to pick up sticks…



to lawn bowling,


and searching for bones and candy and money in hay.


There was pumpkin painting…




and t-shirt painting.




There was apple picking…


and apple pressing.


The kids loved learning how to turn apples into fresh apple juice!


and so did some of the parents and grandparents!



There was lots of food.


I made Grandma’s halupki – another Krautfest tradition served up next to hot dogs and kraut and homemade pierogies and cheesy polenta and fresh smoked ham and lots of other yummies.


There was an entire dining room table filled with desserts.


and of course plenty of wine.


There was tire swinging,


and bonfire-building.


There was Marty (hubby – on the left) and Martin.


There were quiet moments from afar,


and lots of singing and music after the sun went down and drew us indoors.




Even dogs of all sizes made friends!


Can you imagine a better time?


Thank you Joyce and Oh Rob!  We love you!   We ALL do!

Cheers & Hugs,

Happy Halloween!

scarecrow halloween card watercolor doodlewash

Happy Halloween!

I doodlewashed this scarecrow by sketching it first in pencil  on watercolor paper, then dropping in water color paint, and finishing off by outlining with a Black .05 Micron Pen.  (inspired by an adorable design I saw at  Free Dearie Dolls Digi Stamps via a Google Image Search).

l made this little cutie into a card and sent to my sweet bestie, Jill, as a thank you for the adorable Halloween treats she sent from Wicked Good Cupcakes!

Wishing you a few fun tricks
and lots of treats
on this Halloween holiday!

Cheers & Hugs,

Spooky, Screamy, Happy Halloweeny

pp265 halloween sheltering tree flower soft

This week’s theme for The Paper Players Challenge (PP265) is Halloween.

PP265 flat

I decided to break out the FlowerSoft for this week’s Design Team Inspiration card.  It makes such a fun textured Fall tree with lots of Halloweeny colors.

PP265 inside

Here is the fun sentiment on the inside.

My card isn’t very spooky or screamy, but hopefully it is happy halloweeny!

I gave a quick swoosh of green for the grass and blue for the sky in watercolor paint, then stamped the rest.

Here are the “ingredients” I used to make this card:

  • StampinUp (SU) Sheltering Tree Stamp Set
  • SU Holiday Home Stamp Set (Pumpkins and Ghosts and outside sentiment)
  • SU Mingle All the Way Stamp Set (Inside sentiment)
  • Inks:  SU Early Esperesso, Pumpkin, and Stazon Black
  • FlowerSoft Autumn Mix adhered with Tombow Mono Multi Glue
  • Early Espresso and Pumpkin SU Card Stock

Hope you are getting ready for a spooky, screamy, happy Halloweeny, and hope my paper crafting friends will join our challenge this week at The Paper Players!

Cheers & Hugs,


Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodles

pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles cover

It’s the countdown to Halloween on Friday!

I can’t believe it will be NOVEMBER in a few days!  Where did the time go?  We hit close to 80 degrees F Tuesday, and it is still 70 degrees F as I write this post well into Tuesday evening with the windows wide open and the warm breeze blowing in.

I think we are going to be in for a brutal awakening in a few days as the weather forecasters are calling for that “S” word to hit for Halloween!  YIKES!

Since I don’t have children at home anymore to create costumes for or grandchildren yet (patiently waiting – fingers crossed! LOL!) and don’t even get any trick or treaters living a bit far back off the beaten path, what is a girl to do but bake pumpkiny “stuff” for Halloween – right?!?

With a few cans of pumpkin still in the pantry and everything else I needed for this yummy recipe on hand that I discovered on Bakeaholic Mama’s blog, I had to try these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filled Snickerdoodles that combine all the wonderfulness of pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and snickerdoodles ALL IN ONE COOKIE!

pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles 3

Marty gave them a THUMBS UP (and hopefully will remember to take most of them to the office tomorrow so we don’t eat them all)!

Hope you are enjoying the last week of October, wherever this finds you, and hope you will try this yummy treat.

pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles 2

Recipe from:  Bakeaholic Mama’s Blog

Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Yield: about 2-3 dozen cookies


  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Ingredients for the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ingredients for the cinnamon-sugar coating:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.  Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

While the dough chills, make the filling. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Cover and chill this as well (for at least half an hour).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and spices for the coating.
Take one tablespoon of dough and flatten it into a pancake shape. Place one teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of the pancake. Form another tablespoon of dough into an equally-sized pancake shape, and place on top, keeping the cream cheese in the middle. Gently pinch together the edges of the dough around the cream cheese to seal, then gently roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill baking stones or cookie sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart.  Flatten the dough balls slightly.Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until they are slightly firm to the touch and the tops are beginning to crackle. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cheers & Hugs,




Peanut Butter & Chocolate Halloween Spider Cookies

spider cookies 2

Halloween is a week away, and I had more fun than any normal middle-aged (ugh) woman with no children left at home should have making these adorable little peanut butter and chocolate spider cookies!  Heck – we don’t even get a single trick-or-treater, but who says you can’t have fun anyway?!?

spider cookies 4

I had seen a photo of these somewhere, and then a friend texted me a picture from Pinterest by Sommer Collier of A Spicy Perspective saying, “You need to make these for your blog.”  Well… that’s about all it took to get me excited, so I went in search of candy eyes at the local Michael’s Store – but none to be found…

Not giving up, I went to good ole’ Amazon Prime and had them in my hot little hands in two days!

spider cookies 3

They are basically a simple peanut butter cookie with a chocolate truffle in the middle, much like the Hershey Kiss peanut butter cookies (just on Halloween steroids!)

spider cookies

I thought they would be adorable, but wasn’t sure if anyone around here would eat them.

Well – I was wrong!  They loved them!

And it was fun to send some to Nick’s girlfriend, Liz’s office for my blog-following girlfriends at TS 🙂 and deliver some to my daughter-in-law, Colleen at work for a silly surprise.

spider cookie

I must give credit where credit is due.  I found this recipe on A Spicy Perspective’s Blog (which I am a total new fan of!).  She used Lindt Lindor truffles, which I think would be awesome too!  Here is Sommer’s recipe, which I tweaked just a bit for my own brevity’s sake:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 24 round chocolate truffles (I used Ferrero Rocher Truffles, but you can use anything you like best)
  • 3/4 cup Nestle’s semisweet chocolate chips
  • 48 candy eyes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat the butter and peanut butter until fluffy. Then add sugars, and beat again until fluffy. Scrape the bowl, and beat in the vanilla and egg.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Slowly incorporate into the butter and sugar mixture.
  4. Roll the cookie dough into 24 – 1 1/2 Tbsp-sized balls.   Bake for 7 minutes. Quickly press a cavity in the middle of each cookie with your thumb or pestle, then bake another 6 minutes, until golden.
  5. Cool until almost at room temperature (but not very warm) and place a truffle in the cavity of each cookie.
  6. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Scoop the melted chocolate in a zip bag. Close the bag and snip off a small portion of one corner to create a hole. Pipe 8 legs on each cookie, starting from the truffle body down.
  7. Use remaining melted chocolate to glue 2 eyes onto each truffle spider.


Cheers & Hugs,


PS  Hope you enjoyed this T!  🙂

It’s Krautfest Time!

kf cover

It was an absolutely gorgeous Fall weekend, and a great one for the Annual Brugnoli Krautfest Party!  What a joy to be a part of the amazing festivities.

You may be thinking to yourself – “What the heck is a Krautfest?”

Our family has a long-running tradition of making homemade saurkraut, and our amazing Joyce and Rob know how to turn a “chore” into a party!

So about 40-50 family members and friends ranging in ages from 2 to 82 got together on Saturday with 600 pounds of cabbage and made a party out of making kraut!

Join me through a pictorial journey of the wonderful day.

It started with cutting…


cabbage girls

then chopping and slicing and dicing…

marty choppingMarty used his grandfather’s 100-year old cabbage cutter and embraced the heritage of using something today his grandfather used in exactly the same way all those years ago.

mason cabbage  mason cabbage 2and new generations learned the tradition.


there were measurers and salters…

measuring  measuring and salting

Then lots and lots of pounding and stomping and smooshing and smashing.


pounding close up

pounding 5

pounding 4

pounding 3

pounding 2

There was food galore!

reuben pierogies
One of my favorite treats of the day were these Reuben Pierogies!  We sauteed potato and cheese pierogies in butter until browned, then layered with a slice of pastrami, swiss cheese, picked purple cabbage, and a small dollop of Thousand Island Dressing.

mason pretzels

Warm soft pretzels were served with homemade mustard and cheese sauces.


We also had Parmesan Ranch Crusted Pierogies and Buffalo Hot Sauce Pierogies.

painting 3There was pumpkin painting,

painting 4


painting 2

ella painting

ella painting 2There were games…

mother daughter


donut game

donut game 2

dg 6

dg 5

dg 4

dg 3

dg 2

dg 1


laughs 3Zip-lining and Swinging

zip line

zip line 1

zip line 2

zip line 3


swinging 4

swinging 3

swinging 2

Friendship, Hugs, and Laughs



talking 3

talking 2


rob jodi


Michael and Ella


marty nik

games face



babies 2

Delicious cocktails – my favorite was the Bourbon Apple Cider with Rosemary Sprig!

bourbon apple cide

bourbon apple cider

We ate halushki, halupkis, pork and saurkraut, kielbassi, german potato salad, cheese polenta with homemade sauce. Oh the delicousness!!

We sang!


The saurkraut is divided up evenly between all the crocks and buckets to send home with each family…

to wait – and taste test – and wait some more – remembering the special memories we created and looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labor throughout the year.


It was a BOOtiful day!  Thanks Joyce and Rob for your amazing hospitality.  We love you dearly!


Cheers & Hugs,