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Sunday, June 23, 2013


Recently I made a tissue flower garland to use as a backdrop for our "tea party" in the flower girl photo shoot that my daughter and I collaborated on this past month.   I was pleased with the way it turned out and thought I'd share in case you may want to create your own.  I can see it being used as decoration for a bridal or baby shower or even a little girl's birthday party.

It wasn't difficult at all and it only takes a few supplies:
  • tissue paper (dollar store)
  • one spool of wired ribbon (fabric store)
  • one spool of miniature pearls (fabric store)
  • floral wire or floral wire stems 
The first thing to do is make the tissue paper flowers.  I bought my tissue paper at the Dollar Store, you can get packages about double in size for less than what you get elsewhere.  Begin by counting out 8 sheets (the number of sheets you use will determine the diameter of the finished flower) and cut them in half horizontally;  now stack them on top of one another so you have 16 layers of tissue.  Accordion fold the tissue in approximately 1 1/2" folds.    For those of you who are near my age, I used to make these when I was a kid with kleenex and pipe cleaners; back then you could find kleenex in colors--in fact, I remember when I had my first place (circa 1980's) I had blue kleenex in one bathroom and pink kleenex in another.  Hey, the mauve and blue color scheme was popular back then.

I cut my floral stems in thirds and used one piece to twist around the center of the fan to secure.  In this picture I only used two layers of tissue so you could see how to secure the wire.  

First fan out the accordion horizontally, then separate the layers by pulling the sheets apart one-by-one vertically.  As you get approximately 3/4 of the layers pulled you'll find you can pull toward the other side naturally forming the ball from front to back.  The tissue can tear pretty easily, so be delicate.  Then fluff all the way around to make it more symmetrical.

Also, before you get to pulling the layers apart, you could cut the edges into points or a semi circle so that you get a different look to your flower when you pull the layers apart; I've done the semi-circle.  I haven't done the points yet.  There are many great tissue flower tutorials out there, so if my instructions aren't doing the trick for you....please look at others---you won't hurt my feelings. 

To make the garland, I purchased a roll of strung pearls at the fabric store.  I opened the flowers to find the center (where the wire stem is)  and tied the strand around the center and re-fluffed the flowers so that you can't see the loop;continue from flower to flower.  You don't even need to knot the strand since the pearls catch on one another and keep the strand tight around the middle.

Finally, in between the flowers tie large bows around the pearl strand....and voilĂ , you have a tissue paper garland.   I attached them to the bushes with clothespins that I "blinged" for my daughter's wedding.....oh hey....maybe, that's something else I should share!  :)

Monday, June 17, 2013


This is a great summertime treat and since it is one of my husband's favorites, I made it for Father's Day for him.   Maybe you already have this recipe, but if you don' you go.   It's so simple to make and of course, other than the base ingredients you can totally make it your own by picking and choosing which of your favorite fruits to use.

The base is made from the pre-made sugar cookie dough that you find in the refrigerator section of the grocer.    Press it onto an ungreased pizza pan and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.  The topping is Marzetti's cream cheese fruit topping.  Once the cookie has cooled, spread the topping all over the top of the pizza.

Finally, add your fruit.  On mine I sliced up some strawberries, and kiwi.  I also used blackberries, mandarin oranges and some crushed pineapple for the center.

After it is made, you want to chill it for several hours.  I will tell you my husband actually likes it even more a day later when the cookie gets really soft after the  cream cheese topping soaks in a bit.    Last, I will warn you....plan on the first piece being your own (since I have yet to master how to get the first piece out off the pan without it falling apart). Once you get the first one out, you're golden.   TIP:  After slicing it---use a spatula to get up under the piece and it lifts off much better.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Let's admit it, there's a trick to cooking in high altitude.  In fact, I bet every single one of us who live in Colorado, or anywhere else high above sea level has baked AT LEAST one batch of nasty chocolate chip cookies.  They may have tasted okay....but they definitely weren't fact, they looked like a cow pie!!  Right?????  They flattened out completely, and were greasy.

If you've already mastered the art of yummy AND good looking chocolate chip cookies, congrats!---read no further.  If you would like to learn from my cow pie mistakes....then, read on....

Now those are some good looking cookies!  A tall glass of ice cold milk and you're good to go......nothing that three hours on the treadmill can't remedy.  Just kidding.  Moderation, right?  
 Now, growing up as a "flat lander", I remember my Mom having to fuss with all of her Christmas cookie recipes when we moved from Chicago to Colorado.  Lots of trial and error before she mastered the necessary adjustments.  I also remember the first layer cake I made when we moved here.  I forgot to follow the high altitude directions and it was crumbling into pieces as I was trying to frost it. 

Anyway, here's what I can tell you about my chocolate chip cookies.  I use the butter flavored Crisco recipe (not a butter based recipe) and add an extra 1/4 cup of flour; that makes it an even 2 cups of flour (and I use the high altitude flour).
Also, I've learned to always use fresh baking soda.  If it's been in the cabinet forever, it's probably not going to help your cookies much.  For those of you who like a chewy cookie like my husband, I basically under cook them....he loves them right at 8 minutes at 375 degrees.
I don't like to have sweets in the house, it's just too tempting for, once I snagged a couple for me, hubby got a bowl full and the rest are going to work.       Bon Appetit!

Sunday, June 2, 2013


While I don't have any education in horticulture or botany, I have learned quite a bit through experience that I thought I could share with you.    Had I known then, what I know today I would have saved myself a ton of money over the years; you see, I have thrown a lot of money down the drain buying the wrong plants and flowers for my planters.

Colorado summers are brutal!  Intense sun, and cool nights with minimal moisture is a tough combination for most plants.  So many summers my flowers would look great until mid-July and then they would die a bitter death; they were just not the right variety for my yard.   But, I've finally figured it out and if my trials and tribulations help you out...then I'm happy.  The columbine is one of my all time favorites!  It is so unique.  I have them planted below some Aspen, so they get a bit of shade off and on through the day.  I didn't realize how many colors they come in until my husband and I took a trip to Crested Butte for the wildflower festival a couple years ago. 
Columbine (perennial)
For the planters that I have out front that face south and get blasted all day are my go to plants.. the ice plant....these are great creepers with vibrant fuschia and gold flowers all season long.  They close up after the sun goes down....very cool!
Ice plant (perennial)
Snow in summer (perennial)

The snow-in-summer has beautiful white flowers and a minty green leaf. They bush out well and are about 6-8" tall.

I also like coleus, dusty miller and vinca vine.  They hold up great all summer long and they thrive, so much so that my whiskey barrel is overflowing by August/
September with the vine draped all over the edges of the barrel.    There are a couple vinca varieties that are perennials too!

The purple Loosestrife is so awesome.  Vibrant purple flowers from it's a perennial.  Love that!  There were honey bees all over mine working their magic this afternoon.
Coleus, Vinca Vine and White Lobelia
Loosestrife (perennial)
 Also, I have again learned this the hard way....but I never plant before Mother's Day.  I've lost a number of plants to a late much as you want to with all the months without color---don't do it.   Trust me on this one.
You may remember that I enjoy having a wreath on my front door as much as possible; I have several I've created that I change with the seasons.....another tip for you that I'm still trying to remember myself, don't put the spring wreath up too soon or the birds will nest in it!  I thought I had waited long enough this year, but apparently just 24 hours, those little suckers had built a perfectly shaped nest on the backside of my wreath.  They were not too happy when I took the wreath down.  Happy planting!