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Tuesday, December 15, 2015


These are so chewy and yummy....and even better, they're really easy to make.  If you like coconut and/or enjoy Mounds candy bars, you've got to try these!
You can make these as a simple coconut macaroon, or dip the bottoms in chocolate as I did.


One 14 oz. bag sweetened shredded coconut (such as Baker's Angel Flakes)
7/8 cup (just shy of a full cup) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large egg whites
¼ tsp. salt
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  

In a medium bowl, mix together the shredded coconut, milk and vanilla.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form.  Use a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Using two spoons, form heaping tablespoons of the mixture into mounds on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 25 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden and the bottoms and edges are deeply golden.

If dipping the macaroons in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at medium power, stopping and stirring at 30 second intervals until just smooth and creamy.  Dip the bottoms, letting any excess drip back into the bowl.  Place on their side on a wire rack covered in waxed paper. Place the racks in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.  

Servings:  approximately 24-26

Recipe c/o

Monday, December 7, 2015


This cookie is making its debut this Christmas season.  So far the reviews (my husband and me) are very positive!   It has a rich nutty flavor and the caramel drizzle is the perfect topper.
The recipe is compliments of Martha Stewart....hope you enjoy!


1 2/3 cup flour
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ cups salted roasted cashews
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. canola oil
1 stick softened, unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
24 cubes soft caramel candy (7 oz.)
¼ cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift flour and salt together. Coarsely chop 1 cup cashews and set aside. 
Process remaining 1 ½ cups cashews in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. Pour in oil. Process until creamy; approximately 2 minutes.

Place cashew mixture, salt and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy; approximately 2 minutes.  Mix in egg and vanilla.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture.   Mix in reserved chopped cashews.

Shape dough into 1 ½ inch balls; space 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 6 minutes; remove from oven and gently flatten with a spatula.  Bake until bottoms are just golden; approximately 6-7 minutes more.  Let cool completely on wire racks.

Melt caramels with cream in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring consistently.  Let cool slightly. Drizzle over cooled cookies.  Makes about 3 dozen. 

Monday, November 30, 2015


What a fun project.  My daughter needed doors to separate her laundry room from her studio in her basement.  My husband finished the studio portion of the basement for her, and left a larger than normal opening for the doorway in the event they ever needed to swap out the washer or dryer.  So she needed something "unique", not only due to the size of the opening, but also since it would be on the studio side of the basement and she had worked really hard creating the look that she wanted for that area.

My mind went to "old" doors, we also talked about a barn door.....I had shopped a local surplus store a while back and was enamored with the types of home improvement items you could find there.  Bud's Warehouse, carries all sorts of new and donated home improvement items at very reasonable prices.   I had found brand new cabinet doors there some time ago, and remembered they had lots of doors too.
After wandering around, there were some shutters that caught my eye.   It turns out multiple sizes of the same shutters were donated by a gentleman who removed them from his home.  A set of two of the large size would fit almost perfectly in the opening and would be a fun alternative to a run of the mill door!    At only $15 each, it was a steal of a deal.   A couple cans of spray paint and they'd look SWEET!

The shutters were a tan/beige color and we thought they would look nice as a distressed bluish/grey.   I had distressed an old dresser and nightstand for her a couple years ago that she uses in the studio and we wanted the shutters to compliment those two pieces.

Because my basement is yet to be finished, I set up a couple of saw horses and some plastic sheeting and went to town.  I first spray painted a base layer of white on the doors, followed by some grey.  After that, I propped them up against a wall and started "whitewashing" some white and brown areas for a more weathered look. Standing them side-by-side, I could ensure they looked like a matched set.

Oh my gosh!  They look so good in her studio.  She had purchased a couple of vintage looking door knobs on sale at Hobby Lobby (of course, I've taught her to use the weekly 40% off coupon whenever possible) in her logo color of teal as the finishing touch.   So for just under $50 she has a totally unique and functional set of doors for her studio.....even better, she has used them as a backdrop already too, and they look great in pics!  Love it!!

Monday, November 23, 2015


This recipe has been a part of the family Christmas cookie collection since the '70's!  My Mom introduced them back then and since they were a winner with absolutely every family member, she continued including them up until the final batch she made for all of us for Christmas 1998.
My Dad took over the cookie baking in 1999; the year after my Mom passed.  It was so sweet and sentimental of him continue the tradition.  I took over in 2002, after my Dad passed, and have continued to keep them as part of my repertoire ever since.....and frankly, I don't see them ever going away.


½ lb. softened butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 pkg. Hershey's kisses
powdered sugar


Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add the flour and nuts, blend well.  Chill the dough for approximately 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove foil from kisses.  Shape the dough around the kisses, then lightly rolling them to form a ball, completely covering the kiss.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. and bake for 12 minutes, until set but not brown.

While warm, roll the cookies in powdered sugar.  Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool. 

Makes about 30 cookies (which leaves some extra kisses for the cook!)

Monday, November 16, 2015


It's always fun for me to make a house a true home, by decorating it to reflect our personalities.   Having just moved into a new home, my creative wheels are spinning.  We still have a lot of boxes and furniture in storage, so it will be like "Christmas" for me when we do get a chance to unload those items (we have to finish the basement first)!

In the meantime though, there are a few projects I've been working on along the way.  This first one was super simple, but adds a really nice touch to the built in coat rack we have in our house.
 It's a little tough to capture this particular spot in pictures since it is in the corner of the entryway from the garage, which is a bit dark.  So I apologize for the shadows being cast on the sign.

Being in an area with new construction, there are many dumpsters throughout our neighborhood and the craftsmen are always discarding things.  I rummaged through their discard pile the other day and found this roughed up piece of wood and brought it home.  It was just what I needed for my sign!

I sanded it just a smidge so that that vinyl would adhere nicely, but left the weathered and splintered edges as is.  I made the sign using my Silhouette machine and this project was finished in just about an hour.

To finish it, I painted two light coats of ModPodge on top of the letters when I was finished to give it some additional protection.....and there you have it!   It's just what this little corner of "our world" needed.

Monday, November 9, 2015


What could be better than peanut butter and chocolate together in a "no-bake" recipe?  Is that crickets I'm hearing.....that's what I thought.

This dessert is so tasty!  I recently made it for a family gathering and decided to double the recipe since we are dessert lovers.  Let me tell you, the 9 x 9 version would have been plenty big enough.  It is rich and loaded with flavor, so a small piece is just right.    I'll be sharing the "original", which will satisfy approximately 6-8 people.


20 Oreo cookies, divided
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
½ cup peanut butter
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, divided
1 carton (16 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
15 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg. (3.9 oz) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix

(Obviously, you can "lighten" this recipe up on both the calories and the guilt, by using low fat versions of several of these's totally up to you!)


Crush 16 Oreo cookies until coarse.  Add the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 9x9 inch pan.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth.     Fold in half of the whipped topping and spread over the Oreo crust layer.  Sprinkle with the chopped peanut butter cups but reserve some to sprinkle on the top.

In another bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix, and remaining ½ cup powdered sugar on low for about 2 minutes.  Let stand for two minutes.  Fold in the remaining whipped topping.  Spread on top of the peanut butter cups.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining crushed Oreos and peanut butter cups.  Cover and chill for 3 hours before serving.  

Thanks to: The Recipe Critic for the recipe!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


A little birdie dropped a hint last Christmas that she hoped Santa would bring her a Christmas tree skirt.  Unfortunately, when the hint was shared, their tree was already up and time just flat ran out for me to create something.   So, Santa filed that hint away for this Christmas.   And now, I can gift it early to make sure it's ready for this holiday season.
I found a cute neutral cotton fabric for the skirt itself and decided to give it a splash of  color by using red seam binding to finish the top and bottom edges, as well as red felt poinsettia flowers on the front of the skirt.

If you've never made a tree skirt, it's so simple.  Let me share some of the tips and tricks.  First, once you find your fabric (you'll need about 1 ½ yards since most holiday cottons are about 45" - 54" wide) you'll fold it in half and then in half again to make a square.  You'll have a bit leftover which you can use to make the ties for the back of the skirt, and place the rest in your remnant bin for another project!

I made 3 sets of ties
The circumference of the skirt is totally up to you.  I chose to make mine pretty large since my daughter and her husband have a really tall tree.   What that meant was I measured 26" down the fold and 26" down the opposite raw edge of my square and continued marking 26" from my corner point to make the "arc" for my cut line (there are some really good You Tube videos if you'd like an actual visual tutorial on the process, just google Christmas tree skirt).   It will also show you how to cut the circle for the tree base and create a center back seam.

To finish the center back seam, I used a simple rolled edge hem....and made ties from the same fabric to tie it together at the back of the tree.  

The poinsettias are made from red felt....frankly, this was just eyeballing and cutting three different size petals and hot gluing them to a felt circle.  For the two larger petals I used a total of 10; first I glued down 5 petals, then went back around adding the other 5 in the voids created in the first row of petals. The smallest petals I only used a total of 5.  To create the center, I placed a dollop of fabric glue and sprinkled gold glitter on top.

I made a total of 5 poinsettas; 2 large, 2 medium and 1 small.  Once I had placed them on the skirt (about 8 different ways before I made my decision), I hand sewed them into place.
I think now that I've made this one for my daughter....I need to make myself one! I have this cheapy red felt skirt I bought years ago and every year when I get ready to put the tree up, I vow I'm going to make myself a one-of-a-kind skirt to replace the generic one I have.  Who knows, maybe it will be this year?

Friday, October 23, 2015


This is by far the richest, and sweetest dessert I've ever made.  I's almost too sweet, if there is such a thing.  My daughter said her teeth and gums hurt eating it!  I would recommend when slicing it, make the portions at least half of what you would normally cut.  I'm serious.
I wanted to make a birthday dessert for my Son-in-law....not a cake, but something more decadent.  In searching, I landed on this one by: Kevin & Amanda's Recipes

WARNING!!! : this slice is way too big

1 package (about 36) whole Oreos
1 cup (16 Tbsp.) butter, divided
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, divided
1 (12 oz.) bag dark chocolate chips


1.  Finely crush the Oreos with a food processor or blender.  (I used the rolling pin in a freezer bag trick) Stir crumbs together with 8 Tbsp. melted butter until well combined.  Press into the bottom and sides of a pie pan.  Freeze crust for 10 minutes until set. 

2.  Combine the remaining 8 Tbsp. butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble.  Continue cooking, whisking constantly for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Slowly whisk in ¼ cup heavy whipping cream until smooth.  Cool caramel about 15 minutes.  Pour the caramel over the crust, then return to freezer for about 30-45 minutes; until just chilled and set.  (You don't want the caramel to fully freeze)

3.  Place the chocolate chips in a glass bowl.  In a saucepan, bring 1 cup heavy whipping cream to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until completely smooth.  Pour the chocolate over the caramel and freeze for a final 30 minutes, until just chilled and set.  OR, refrigerate, covered until ready to serve.   Before serving sprinkle the top with a flaky sea salt like kosher salt or Fleur De Sel. 
YES!!  This is a much more palatable portion

(I used a springform pan versus a pie plate...the recipe also suggested a torte pan would make for a pretty fluted crust)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Since it's starting to feel a bit like Fall around here, I thought it was time to do some baking.  Now, I've never been a fan of pumpkin pie, but give me a pumpkin muffin or piece of pumpkin bread, and I'm happy!
It's always nice to land on a proven High Altitude recipe, keeping the guess work out of the equation! This one turned out beautifully, making two for now, and one for the freezer.


3 eggs
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
½ cup raisins (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla, and pumpkin, mix until well blended.

Sift flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add to pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed until blended.

Stir in nuts and raisins if desired (I used walnuts and golden raisins).  Pour batter into two 9x5 inch loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove bread from pans and let cool on rack.  

I chose to make a cinnamon glaze, using powder sugar, milk and cinnamon.  

So good.....enjoy!

Thanks to:  High Altitude Country Kitchen Volume 1

Sunday, October 11, 2015


This project was such a treat for me.   Not only was I able to help a bride with her garter set, flower girl basket, and ring bearer sign, but I was also asked to create the flower girl dress.  Especially sweet since this little flower girl was the eighteen month old daughter of the bride and groom!

The bride knew she wanted a dress that would match her lace overlay gown well; she had a full tulle skirt in mind; she wanted it to have a touch of the bridesmaid color (pewter) somewhere in the design; and finally, she also knew she wanted to incorporate some pieces of her gown into her daughter's dress in some way.
 As we chatted over coffee, I sketched up the design, making notes of the "must haves" along the way.   I suggested a lace overlay bodice with the tulle skirt.  I would add a rhinestone neckline to match Mom's rhinestone belt, and I could make a fabric flower on the front of Ms. Madison's dress and use the remnants when the bridal shop hemmed her gown.  As for the pewter touches, some beading and ribbon roses would add just the right amount of color without overpowering Madison.

Oh....and I couldn't let the dress out the door without a matching lace headband!

Madison did such an awesome job on the wedding day, and her little cowgirl boots were adorable!

Special thanks to for the precious pictures of Madison.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I created this sign with a one year old ring bearer in mind.  I knew it would be helpful if I could make his role in the wedding as easy as possible; after all he needed to concentrate on the new art of walking that he had recently learned!

Knowing that the bride was looking for a rustic sign to blend with the theme of the wedding, I found a scrap piece of wood in the garage and cut it down to a manageable size for a one year old (well actually, I let my husband help with that part).   I also made the sign "hands free" by creating a twine hanger that would allow him to wear it around his neck while he walked.
The bride knew that she wanted "Here Comes the Bride" on the sign, I suggested we add another look to the reverse side.   I could create an "established" sign for them with their surname. 
 I suggested the sign could be flipped around on the ring bearer (for the recessional), then after the ceremony. it could be used at the reception (on the gift table, the head table or the guest book table) and finally after the wedding, they could use it for decoration in their new home.  So instead of using it only once, they could enjoy it for years to come!

I painted a white base coat on both sides of the sign, then added a top coat of a blue grey over that. To give it a distressed look, I sanded to remove some of the paint.  The lettering was done on my silhouette machine using black and grey vinyl.

Once the lettering was in place, I gave it a good coat of Mod Podge to seal and protect the surface.  For the edges, I used a narrow jute twine; wrapping it around three times.

I had hoped to be able to share pictures of the little ring bearer with his sign, but it didn't work out quite as planned.  Instead he was carried some of the way by his Momma, and when he decided to walk, he was holding the sign by the string and being so low to the ground it was tough to read the sign.  Oh was placed on the gift table after the ceremony and looked great among the gifts.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


My daughter-in-law has four adorable nieces, three of which would be flower girls for the wedding, the fourth was an honorary flower girl since she was just nine months old.    All of the girls live in states other than Colorado, so to begin, I asked for some basic measurements from their Moms.  With a chest, waist and length measurement I could get started in the spring,  then after a double check on the length about a month before the wedding (to allow them time to sprout over the summer), I could hem them.
The dusty pink color was so sweet and complimented the bridesmaid dresses so nicely, and with the kissing balls I made of burlap and lace, they looked absolutely adorable.   I made the 9 month old a matching lace headband to compliment her dress.   
To create added fullness, each of the flower girl dresses has a full crinoline petticoat underneath the dress.  

I also made personalized hangers for each of the girls.

Love it!  It's going to be fun for these girls to look back on the pictures from their Auntie's wedding as they get older and see how sweet they looked, and what an awesome job they did on that special day!

Monday, September 7, 2015


Wedding gowns are my passion, I love the design process and the opportunity of creating a couture gown for a bride.  It's also fun looking back afterwards on the creative process and all the steps in between-from bolt to the finished gown.  I've been so anxious to share this, but of course wanted to wait until after the big day.  Now, after months of secrecy, I can now give you a behind-the-scenes look at a Shea Marie Designs original.

This particular gown was special since it was for my daughter-in-law-to-be.  I first began the process back in December of 2014, shortly after she became engaged to our son. I can't believe I've been able to keep a secret all this time!  Let me take you through the process.......
Obviously, when the bride lives in another state as in this case, it can add some challenges, but nothing that can't be overcome. I've created two other "long distance" gowns; one for a sister-in-law and another for my niece and both worked out well.  I will say I'm particularly proud of this one since I only had the opportunity for the initial muslin fitting; that's really unheard of....but, as you can see, it fit like a glove!

I had Sarah take a plethora of measurements for me, so that when she came to Denver in January, I could have a muslin prepared for fitting purposes.  She had been looking at strapless gowns, so I made a simple strapless muslin to ensure my pattern was correct. I found a couple modifications that needed to be made during the initial fitting, but nothing too significant; raise the bodice and take it in a smidge at the waist and hip for a really good fit and flare silhouette.

During that initial visit, we also went fabric shopping. Sarah picked out some beautiful lace and the most luscious and unique latte' colored satin for the underlayer.

I constructed the satin underlayer first, and then began "piecing" the lace to create the final silhouette and train; I also had to applique' pieces of the lace motif pattern onto the bodice to create the pattern I was looking for throughout the bodice and waistline since I really wanted to accentuate Sarah's narrow waistline and hips.
lace shrug....view from the back
Sarah also chose to have a shrug that she could wear during the ceremony and then remove for the reception. This added design element really set her gown apart from so many others and was ultra flattering for her.  Sarah stands a good 5'9" tall in her bare feet, so she looked so statuesque in this design; it highlighted her square shoulders and narrow torso.   She looked absolutely stunning!

The gown has covered buttons all the way down the back of the bodice to the very end of the train; a total of 73 to be exact.  Another nine buttons are on the back of the shrug.   The lace train extended beyond the edge of the underlayer by about a foot; It is also shaped somewhat like a three leaf clover.
This particular gown was very labor intensive as a result of piecing the lace overlayer.  As corny as it sounds, it truly was a "labor of love".   In case you're wondering,  I spent a total of 65 hours from start to finish.

I am so honored that Sarah asked me to create her gown.  It touched my heart to see her wearing it on her wedding day.  She was absolutely glowing!  Congrats Sarah and Clint...Best Wishes on a long and happy marriage.

Thank you KB Digital Designs for the beautiful photos.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


This coffee cake is so yummy, it's good any time of day!  A robust banana flavor with a streusel filling it's a great alternative to your standard banana bread.


2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 ripe bananas
½ cup butter, room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk

For the streusel:
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbsp. milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mash bananas until they become liquified.  Mix in butter until combined and then mix in sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla.  With mixer running on low, carefully add flour and mix until just combined. 

Prepare streusel by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl, cut the butter in with a pastry blender until a coarse crumb forms.

Pour ½ the batter into the prepared pan.  Top with 1/3 of the streusel.  Cover the filling with the remaining batter and top with remaining crumb mixture.  Bake for 50-55 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool at least one hour before drizzling the glaze over the top.  


recipe c/o: