Nirvana

Nirvana

Monday, July 24, 2017

An Idea to be Explored by Pinterest - That is all I'm Saying

I feel the need to share an idea that is not mine. And I am struggling mightily doing so. I'm not even going to mention the name of the person bringing this inspired treat. But suffice it to say that she is a competitor in my little world and by golly I sure don't want this to look like I'm giving her a nod. But I overheard that the idea was not hers, either. So I will share then. And give the credit to Pinterest. Where it belongs. And mention that I will make this "good idea" sing like a Diva. I will use homemade ice creams and creative twists and it will become Grand Prize winning in my hands! 


I didn't take any pictures. You certainly can guess how that'd look!  She would have seen me snapping away and gotten all smug and puffed up and popped a few buttons. I could not have that. Not at all. So you will need to use your imaginations. (I did include a picture of another creation of mine, lime and toasted coconut...)

The Pinterest idea was: 

In a muffin tin, silicone muffin liners, or foil muffin liners place an Oreo type cookie. I highly recommend the silicone for the lower mess potential. If you are using a muffin tin or foil liners I would recommend greasing them first. (I might do half the cookie because it's frozen and I sure wouldn't want someone losing a partial or crown on my watch.) 

Plog some slightly softened ice-cream on top of the cookie. Any flavor. Fill it about 2/3 of the way, so about 1/4 a cup or 2-3 TBSPs should do. (Zula change-ups would include two flavors with a ribbon of deliciousness between like raspberry sorbet, raspberry jam, chocolate ice cream or I'd use a hand crafted blizzard like ice cream.) 

Cover this with chocolate sauce. Freeze until ready to serve. (Here's where I'd have so much fun!!! I'd use my signature ice cream toppings including the State Fair Blue Ribbon Fudge Sauce, my Newspaper Contest Winning Caramel Delight topping, and my Banana Split Dazzler. Then I'd top with a dusting of delicious items or perfectly placed "piece de resistances" that would compliment the ice cream such as chocolate covered half cookies or a dollop of cookie dough drizzled with chocolate or a flourish of sugar glazed nuts or lemon peel ribbons, oh, the endless possibilities here. 

The ones I saw were just plain jane rather than works of art. So the potential. Oh my! I feel giddy about the possibilities!!!!! 

Don't forget to enter the contest the writers are running. One day left!!!! Just one day! http://www.bookfun.org/group/kelly-klepfer-author-group/forum/topics/july-17th-giveaway-event-chance-to-be-part-of-new-novel 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Back on Track

Mavene Bennett has a degree in psychology. She thinks that Fifi was responding to my "Stage Mom" stress energy. So her recommendation is to put that doggie right back on that horse. There is a pet show event in a neighboring community in September. Mavene says that if I low-key it and simplify my designs Fifi and I might be just fine. 

I think I'll go with an Amish theme. No pompoms or doodads that she can chow down on and she'll be adorable in a sun bonnet or prayer kapp! I could maybe even do a tiny Amish quilt that could drape over one side. I feel better already. 

And now that Fifi has processed the pompoms I think she's back to normal, too. 

I have another RECIPE!!!!! Ready for this one? So EASY!

Buffalo Potato Salad. Yes. Really! 

Now my measurements are going to need to be tweaked to your taste level. I apologize for doing a Fern but I was inspired and going rogue in the kitchen. With such delicious results! So good. So easy. 

I boiled 6 potatoes. And hardboiled 4 eggs. 

Let them cool. Peel the eggs, dice eggs and potatoes into a bowl. Add tiny diced celery (three good sized ribs) Add chopped green onions. The green section from a bunch or about 10 if you grow your own. And fresh chopped parsley to taste. (I used about 1/2 cup.) Mix this all together. 

In a smaller bowl add about 3/4ish bottle of ranch dressing (the normal sized 16 ounce bottle, I used Ken's) and add 1/8 cup of Frank's Red Hot. Mix well and taste. You want the Frank's to slightly take the edge off the ranch and leave a nice afterburn. Too little and the ranch overpowers the spice, too much and your guests will be whining like little babies. Add either ranch or Frank's to get it where you want it. Then dump it over the veggies and stir well until it looks like a light orange dream. You can make it the night before even. Easy-peasy-delicious!!!!!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Bittersweet

I will not blather on about my disappointment over the 4th's parade. 

Fifi had a snit. I don't know if the outfits were too much, or that she was around too many strangers. She growled at a judge. She refused to prance so the feathers danced. Then she literally ate two pompoms right off the most visible part of the finale gown. Of course, she didn't win. She didn't even get an honorable mention. It's so bad between us that Fern is even trying to smooth things over. Fifi has been sleeping on the couch. I'll forgive Fifi. But I just can't see us ever trying a pageant style event ever again.  

Fortunately, even though the pooch took a little doodie on my dreams, there was something good that came out of the 4th. 

I made a cake. Now. That's not unusual. But this year, because I had an epic sewing responsibility, ahem, I didn't focus on my desserts as I usually do. In an attempt to simplify I was able to make something grand and easy. 

I'll call it Patriotic Poke Cake

I made my award winning white cake. Those of you who do not have an award winning white cake, feel free to use a white cake mix, follow the directions for a 9 x 13 cake and bake it. 

When it cools poke a bunch of holes. Many, many holes. Use a handle from a wooden spoon or skewer. 

Take a jar of home canned blueberry jam or preserves and microwave it for about 30 seconds. Poor over the cake or every other hole if you like. Do the same with a jar of strawberry preserves. (If you don't can your own, well then, simply use store bought jams and you can use the frozen tubs of sweetened strawberries from the freezer case if you'd rather instead of strawberry preserves). Layer the strawberry jam over the blueberry or fill alternate holes. Use the whole jars. 

Let set up in the fridge for a few minutes. While cooling then whip up homemade vanilla whipped cream. Of course, since we are going for easy vs award winning (which seems to be the theme of the day, right Fifi?) use the fake whip in the freezer case. Spread over the top of the cake until the cake is covered with white fluff. If you want to get really fancy you can place fresh fruit in whatever floats your boat across the top of the cake. This tastes like strawberry shortcake with less fuss and bother. 

Boom! Done! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Ooooohhhh! The Parade is a Coming!!!

Sweet Mercy! I may have taken on more than I can chew! But, since this is only our second 4th of July together I really wanted to go all out. Fifi loved prancing around in her Star-Spangled lycra last year! She was soooooooo adorable! And such a diva. You could not tell her what to do when she had her sparkle on. And  I don't know what she hoovered up off the ground that made her smell like a bus full of college athletes who'd played in 100 degree heat then got rained on but she has promised to never eat that again! And I've promised that I will put Fern up in the nice hotel in the city if Fifi repeats that unfortunate choice! That was a rude awakening to doggie ownership!!!! 

But back to the costumes! I have blisters on two of my fingers due to all the handwork. I wanted to share the completed ensembles with y'all but Fifi gets a little annoyed with the fittings and so far I've not gotten any good photos. Plus, the two prize winning outfits are in various stages of done. I did snap a few quickies to set the mood, though. Her bandana is just for around the house. Like a great housecoat back in the day. A housecoat would be equivalent to today's pajama pants. When did housecoats disappear? Hmmmm. I'll have to look into that. I'm curious. Maybe I'll design a line of modern housecoats. I'm going to go write that down. 

Okay. I'm back. Now the sunglasses and headband. Oh, precious widdle pupper wooks so CUTE! She's going to rock that little attitude on the way to the parade. I also have a victory costume for her to prance home in and a special frock for the parade that will literally make her look like a firework. That's the blister maker right there. The post parade party will be a little more demure but will play up Fifi's attributes. And there may be a small flower arrangement involved. I'm still cooking that idea. Sometimes restraint can make an outfit. I also have an eye and ear on the competition and may not have to pull out the excess. My main competitor, Marvene Arkfeld, from Sand and Sun Estates has had her grandchildren for two weeks and a couple are in rough stages right now. Thanks to the Terrible Twos and a pre-tween attitude Fifi may have a win without me even needing to break out into a glow!   

I hope you have a bang of a 4th. We will. Bring it on! Mama's got a spot cleared for Fifi's first trophy!!!!!!! 

If you need a great summer read Out of the Frying Pan is just a click away. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Fifi is So Excited...

I have been working my fingers to the bone this past week on Fifi's parade costume. Look at all the delicious materials I've found. She's going to look like a dream. 

And don't be fooled by her nonchalant look, she's so excited! As a matter of fact her little tail was just going crazy when I took this picture. 

I will be honest though. The fawn tones of Fifi's facial fur is kind of bothersome. 

I don't want to speak of it, but Ralph and Suzette have this little white fluff of a dog and I can't help being a little jealous. I'd love my head piece to pop a little more against fluffy white fur. Do you think I could paint Fifi's fur white, temporarily? Or wait? The headpiece could have a built in mask component. Like a ski mask. For dogs. Oh MY! That could solve everything!!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Official List:Drum Roll, Please!!!!




We have winners.  You are all winners. Yes. You, lovely reader, are a winner. 

I wanted to pick our favorites for each category. But...Fern put her foot down. She said I couldn't make up my mind and was being a "crazy woman." I don't see anything wrong with having a 5 category voting system. Or special notes that keep someone in the running for that "IT"element even if they didn't cut it on the technical. 

But she did point out that it would take until June of next year to do the voting the way I set out to do it and that wouldn't be fair to you all. So I agreed. 

Zula's Choice went to Pam Graber! A Hobby Lobby gift card is coming to you!!! Use it to beautify the world, Grasshopper! I know you can. I saw your picture. With the bee...squeee!!!!!! (I have to say Pam's picture was one of my favorites! So I am thrilled. But then the others...sweet mercy. The others! ) 

Fern's Choice goes to Beverly Snyder! Yay, Beverly. She's the one that had the baby as a prop. Well, prop might not be the best word. She made the lovely bouquets for the baby after all. So the point was the baby outfit for the wedding...but...the baby made a lovely display piece. Beverly wins a Trader Joe's gift card. Yay! Beverly! 

And then finally. Our Wild Card/Wild Hair award goes to Nora St. Laurent. She will win an Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of Out of the Frying Pan. Yay, Nora! She also tweeted about our contest like a champion. So thank you for that, Nora. And since you are the friend of books it's great you landed a prize in the random drawing. 

The rest of you, I'm so sorry. If it was up to me I'd have chosen every single one of you. Every. Single. One. But as Fern said, that kind of defeats the purpose of a contest...and more importantly, it would completely wipe out my clearance flower fund nest egg buying all those gift cards. 

Thank you for playing!!!! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Best TIME of the YEAR! (After Christmas. And Easter. And Well...It's a Great Time of the Year!!!!!

The contest. I want to talk about the contest and how excited I am about the entries. We got one that included a real live bee! Not the cute little chenille ones covered in black and yellow glitter at the five-and-dime but a flying buzzy bee. So precious. Fern says we have so many entries we are going to have to do random choices. Don't tell her I agree but it would be hard to pick just one for each category as the winner. So many beautiful bouquets!!!! 

But I also want to talk about the 4th! Of JULY!!! One of my favorite holidays. I love cozying up to a strong hunk-a-lunk of a man and squealing at the fireworks. Well, I don't really care for the fellas that squeal, I prefer to be the squealer! Oh, fireworks!  Exploding lights and booms and colors! They get better every year. Have you seen the ones that make huge floating hearts? Squeeeee! 

The other best thing about the 4th is the fair we attend. Well, it's not really a fair. More of a friendly contest between talented adults. Some more talented than others, of course, who shall all remain nameless for various and obvious reasons. I enter (and win) the creative pie contest. Almost every single year. Last year was a fluke and I'll swear as I have been that Miriam somehow cheated. But I have been warned by Fern not to mention that allegation again. Ever. So I didn't just say that. 

The best thing, the thing that will take away all my sad feelings about Miriam and her cheating pie is that this year will be my first in the Doggie-Dress-Up event! I am going to sparkle and glitter the stuffing right out of my little Fifi princess. I intend to make her a corset and a train as well as tiny little paw covers. All in red, white and blue and all dazzling!!!!!! I've been working on the designs for a week and as soon as this contest is over I'll be sewing, glueing and bedazzling like nobody's business. 

Now. Join the contest in the last few days so I can move on. Feel free to include little furry friends in the bouquet pictures. Those are my favorite!!! 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Times a Ticking'

I'm so MAD at Fern. I had a shopping cart loaded down at the dollar store. And by golly, my darn bladder, I had to find the lady's room. Coffee, excitement, GRAVITY! Sweet mercy, the trifecta of annoyance!  The thing has always been the size of a Lima bean and now it's the size of a kidney bean as far as capacity goes. 

Anyhoo. When I came back Fern had "organized" the cart. I say EDITED!!!! As in I know I had a dozen each of each color of silk zinnia. And the tiny precious rosebuds with the little fake raindrop, at least two dozen of the white ones. She claims I'm over-exaggerating. 

Ohhhkayyy. I know how she rolls! And this is not our first rodeo. 


I managed to grab a few bundles extra as we headed toward the line. Next time I take her flower shopping I'll wear a depends. That's a promise! And a threat!



Now. Next week is the end of the contest. 
We have three great prizes. 

Hobby Lobby $20, 

Trader Joe's $20, 

Amazon $10 plus a copy of our story in paperback!!!! 

Three prizes. So far we have the following bouquets representing  YOUR creativity. 

Let's AMP this party UP!

RULES: Through June 15th at 11:59 p.m. 


Take a picture of a bouquet. 

Post it on Facebook with the following: (Just copy and paste into the Say something about)

Just entered this beauty for a fabulous giveaway. @KellyKlepfer and @FernandZula See rules here. http://fernandzula.blogspot.com/2017/06/times-ticking.html


OR/AND

Post your picture on Twitter with the following: 

Just entered for a fabulous #giveaway. @KellyKlepfer @MichelleGriep #FernandZula See rules here. http://fernandzula.blogspot.com/2017/06/times-ticking.html


And then, just to make sure we don't miss the entry email the writer at kelly.klepfer@gmail.com and tell her what you did! Easy peasy. Enter as often as you like. Go crazy with bouquets. You do not have to make them, just take a picture of one. 

Or, just go buy 10 copies of our story on Amazon and we'll gladly enter you for that. Send your receipt to the email addy above. Just kidding. But if you wanted to we sure wouldn't be upset...just sayin. 






Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Oh Glorious DAY!


You know what today is? Don't you? If you know me at all you know that this might be the best day of the year. 

Two days after Christmas is a close second. The day after Valentine's is up there. But the day after Memorial Day!!!! I adore this day!!! 

Now I don't have much time. Nor do I have the ability to sit still and type this. Gracious, my feet are tap-tapping right along with my fingers. I'm giddy. Just giddy!!!

I am taking Fern with me. She insisted. I'm not sure why she is so interested in flower gathering but I'll take her help. I might find enough that I can't even carry it! She can be my blossom mule! 

 (Fern here: You know why I'm helping her? Someone has to be the voice of reason. Last year she "borrowed" half of my closet for a "few weeks." Yeah. That's not going to happen again. For months, every time I opened my closet door I was terrified of losing an eye.)

I've got to tell you this, too. I don't know for certain. But I think there might be a wedding on the horizon. I just feel it in my bones. There is an unverified wedding and I will be intimately involved in the planning. Today my goal is to dumpster dive, buy at 75% off or more every white or ivory flower I see. 

I hope your day is full of flowers. Just FULL of them. Join the contest. Send a picture. Here's the information you need. http://fernandzula.blogspot.com/2017/05/announcement-announcement-announcement.html 

TIP: You need this. If you see a bedraggled flower that you feel like you must rescue but just can't see how. You can reinvigorate a faded beauty past her prime. Spray glue and glitter. Or glitter spray. Not even kidding. Silks can become dazzling damsels with just a little TLC! 

Fern's up and moving around. We'll be ready to hit the Dollarama and Hobbyville in no time at all. (This is the one day a year I'm thankful Fern has no beauty routine!) 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tap! Tap! Tap! Enter the Contest! And Make a Treat to Encourage You Do Just That!!!

Don't forget to send your pictures! You know what I'm talking about, right? What? You missed it? Go HERE. Right now!!!! Not even kidding. I'm waiting. Now send those pictures. Facething them. Twirp, tweet or toot them. But just do it! 

Now. Here's a bonus, fun recipe.  So easy!!!!! And tasty!!!! 

1 bag chocolate chips
2 TBSP peanut butter
Melt together. 
Add 4 cups rice krispy cereal. 

Drop and press into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle the top with crushed candy bars or mini m&m's and press with the back of a spoon. Pop into fridge. Makes 18-24. It's like a crackle bar or nestles bar on steroids. (And not the ones to help you breathe or lessen your arthritis pain. Ha. Ha. A little retirement park humor!)


Pop them out when solid. Place in a container. Keep in the fridge so you don't have melty hot messes. Enjoy. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Announcement, Announcement, Announcement!!!!


Oh, the craft sale was glorious! I sold so many beautiful bouquets. One sweet gal told me that she follows me! That she had been counting down the days to the craft sale so she could restock her arrangements.

Oh my! I had to fan my face for a full 15 minutes after that. Little ol me has a groupie. Or is it a roadie if they travel to get to you? Oh, whatever it is. I'm so thrilled!

Since the shops are still full of Mother's Day goodies (at a discount now!) and since Memorial Day is just around the corner. Anyone can find some great silks at a decent price.

We are going to have a contest. Yes. That's right!!!!!!


A contest showcasing your beautiful bouquet pictures. All you have to do to enter is tweet or FB a photo of a glorious bouquet put together by you or someone else. No matter. Enter as often as you like.


Contest closes on 6-15-17 at midnight. 


Three categories.

Three prizes!!!!!!!!!!

Zula's Favorite - A gift card to Hobby Lobby in the amount of $20.00. (Winner chosen by Zula.)


Fern's Favorite - A gift card to Trader Joe's where you can buy inexpensive and beautiful real flowers. (Winner chosen by Fern.) 


Wild Card - A signed copy of the novel Out of the Frying Pan plus a $10.00 Amazon e-card. (This is a random winner, no floral expertise needed. Enter as often as you like with the same picture sharing on Twitter and sharing on Facebook.)


Two ways to enter.

1)  Post the jpg picture to twitter and copy and paste this:  "Zu-fer bouquet explosion! #contest #giveaway #giftcard #freebook http://bit.ly/2r8dxuY@MichelleGriep and @KellyKlepfer Enter to win!"

2)  Post the jpg picture to Facebook with the following copied and pasted (or link if you prefer once there.): "FernandZula Kelly Klepfer. Zu-fer bouquet explosion. Enter to win. #contest #giveaway. http://bit.ly/2r8dxuY 


Tell me which of the above you did and send your picture to me at kelly.klepfer@gmail.com. You will get an entry to the wild card prize for each time you do the Twitter and Facebook options so tweet every day if you'd like. 







Monday, May 8, 2017

One More Week! Then Bam!

I wish this was how I felt. Tranquilly floating on the water, soaking up sunshine!

But how I really feel is like my hair-rollers-were-wound-too-tight-and-my-shoes-pinch-my-pinkies-and-I'm-wearing-my-most-uncomfortable-intimate-garment crazy. 

I know. I know! I bring this upon myself. No one forced me to sign up for the big craft fair. But I just love crafts so much. And flowers. So I must carry on! 

Next weekend is the big blitz. My Friday and Saturday I'll be making some mad money as those glorious bouquets find a new home. My stuff will be flying off the table. It will be worth it. 

Until next week. I do remind you to check out Fern's ongoing saga here

Monday, May 1, 2017

Balls of JOY and FLOWERS!

Whoooeeee. You'd think that Fern was the cook and dessert diva in these parts right about now. Not true in any sense of ANY of those words. I just happen to be decollate deep in flowers right now. Oh, what a problem to have!

Not real flowers. Silk bouquets. There is a craft sale of all craft sales down the road a bit in three weeks and I have been finding treasures to turn into display pieces. Oh, if only you could see them.

Anyway. Fern has been cooking for both of us while I slave away and burn off my fingerprints with the glue gun. Did you know that if you burn your skin enough times that can happen? Wait. Apparently that's not true. Fern just googled it. Sigh. But it seems like it would be permanent, but any aspiring criminals need to know that they grow back in the same pattern. Turn back, repent of your plans.

Fern made dessert last night. She's on a super health kick. No added sugar. Only naturally occurring sugar. Like frozen bananas whirred into ice cream. That's real. And tasty. I did add a spoonful of peanut butter to mine, and maybe a handful of chocolate chips. Delicious. I may add that to my recipe repertoire.

She "couldn't" give me an actual recipe for her Almond Joy Bites. I watched her and it appeared that she used about even amounts (approx 1 cup each) of almonds and pitted dates, about a 1/2 cup of toasted coconut and 1/3 cup of cocoa nibs (these are totally unsweetened cocoa bits but taste completely like bitter chocolate. They are pricey so you could use chocolate chips and get away with it, but do NOT say this to her, she will give you the stinko face.) She then whipped those ingredients together in her food processor until uniform and mixed. Squeeze a bit between your fingers and try to form a ball or bar shape. If too sticky she said to add more nuts, a handful, if too prone to fall apart 3-4 dates. They should stay together and form tight little nuggets of deliciousness. And they are delicious!!!!

Gotta go take care of my flowers. I hear them screaming for my attention. "Zula! Zula!" 

And don't forget Fern's Portrait! (the ongoing story saga...dnh, duduh, dnh (dramatic music!) 

Ta! Loves, TA! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Stories from Paradise - Fern's Portrait

http://amzn.to/2ndM0qv
Fern and I are doing a little storytelling for fun. 

Every day we'll load lines into this post and build an ongoing tale and we'll uhhh toot? No, twirp...like chirp but it's a bird symbol webbie thing. Anyway. We'll add a bit of the story there at that website thing with the bird and here and people can click on it and come see the whole thing as it unfolds here. Does that sound like fun? You know it. So fun! So come back every single day. 

So first we will start with Fern. 

We will call it. 



Fern's Portrait

A fog of Brut announced Delbert's arrival a full minute before Fern heard the scritch-scratch of his shoes sliding across the linoleum. The tension in her shoulders ratcheted righty-tighty. She couldn't stop a sigh. Not that he'd hear it. As bad as that sounded, the thought really wasn't an unkind one about a shuffling elderly man, half deaf because of infirmary. Instead it was just the dad-blamed truth about a man as stubborn and clueless as any could be. And she had a bounty of experience with stubborn and clueless in her 67 years. 

"Ferny. How's it going today?" 

Following a snort-laugh, Delbert's unwelcome words destroyed her peace as she set her paintbrush down on her palette and turned to face him. 

"Great, Delbert. I hope you won't be offended if I continue to work on my project."  

She turned sideways, back to the canvas, hoping and wishing that today he wouldn't take the conversation to the bad place. But he always did.

"Makes no difference to me. I like any view." He hacked and spit into her sink.

She fought a gag.

"So." He chuckled slightly. Here it came. It was coming. 
Maybe she didn't need to hear the words again. With a quick flick of the wrist she tipped her water over and it sloshed onto the linoleum. "Oh, goodness. How clumsy.You better stay back, you don't want to slip."

Welcome silence reigned for a moment while she bent to sop up the liquid, then came the wheezy chortle. "This might be my favorite view."

A small, white-hot flame of indignation burned in her gut as she wiped up the water.
In not wanting to hear his disgusting request, she was subjected again to his disrespect. How did one turn the other cheek in this type of situation? Or was it time to once and for all put the absolute fear of God into this pompous and offensive man with some of her well practiced Tai Chi moves that would be more than fast enough to disable him?

But he hadn't acted out physically. Instead he was trying to subdue her emotionally, wasn't he? Power, control, diminishing her. This battle was psychological.


How many times had men taken this approach and left behind broken women?

Men who were not real men at all, but men who hid their snaky souls behind backward "compliments" and demeaning sweet-nothings. She stood. "Delbert. It's time for you to leave. You are not welcome here."


He straightened then and thrust out his chin. His eyes glinted with something dangerous. There was a little bit of wolf left in the old man. Just enough of a stance to convince her once and for all that he wasn't an innocent fool. But a predator. 

"That's mighty unfriendly of you, Little Lady. I was just showing my respect for the great artist, Fern Hopkins. Offering my modeling services. And I was considering offering other parts of my life." 


Fern grew a bit taller than her 5 foot 4 inches in that moment. "Delbert. Your attention is not flattering. It's creepy.
You do not look at me as if I am a human being to be valued and respected. You treat me like I am nothing but a diversion, someone to toy with, a challenge of some sort. I will not be disrespected." With every word her self-respect grew, as did the volume of her voice and the passion in her words.


Her southern nice lady, sweet little senior citizen "should lists" burst into flames and she let them burn brightly.

"I am not interested in painting you as a nude subject. I am not interested in any other part of your life. I do not find you to be a kind man, nor gentle. I am respectfully asking you to leave me alone. And I'm warning you that if you ever offer to pose nude for me again, that I will at best slap you across your arrogant face. And at worst become a woman of fury unleashed to teach you that I am a human being worthy of respect. Now! Leave!" 

At some point in the middle of her tirade, Delbert's mouth had dropped open.

By the time she finished he was simply a flawed, broken human being again. This time with no hint of danger. Fern's compassion began to bank in the coals of her rage. Oh, the wretchedness of humanity. The choices made for others. The imposition of others wills on weaker souls.
Times of victimization and times of brutality against self and others.

She took in a deep breath. This time the Brut was merely an afterthought instead of a tidal wave on her senses. The smell of the wet paint was stronger. "Delbert. I think it is high time for you to choose to become a better human being.
It is time for all of us, no matter where we are in life, to choose to become better human beings. I hope for you to be able to respect yourself and that will pour out as respect for others. I also hope you choose to live out your final days with a dignity that a man who has lived well deserves."

Delbert nodded his head. "Thank you, Fern.
I hope you have a good night." And he turned and walked a out of the room. Just like that.
The final click of the outer door signaled that he had gone.

Fern picked up her paintbrush. She cleaned it and washed the paint off her plastic palette. The canvas she'd been working on went on its side and she picked different colors.
Tonight she was going to paint a different picture. A very different picture because she was quite certain something in her heart had just changed and she was excited to see what was going to end up on the canvas.
     ...the end

Monday, April 17, 2017

This Just In...

Before I reveal whether or not Fern wore the tasteful hat I made for her...before I reveal another annoying thing about that woman! Before I share the weather catastrophe that ruined my outfit...before I share Fern's recipe I want to share this. Our story of murder and mayhem is on sale. Well better than that. It's on sale for free if you have one of those reader devices. Click here to go there. 

That is correct. For two days. It's free. No excuses not to read about how Fern and I helped to save all of Paradise. It's really a big deal. Bad stuff was going down. And with our help Detective Flynn saved the day (and a damsel, but I'm not supposed to talk about the "relationship" anymore, but between you and me, I'm expecting wedding bells. Fern's going to kill me, again.) I'll tell you, though, keeping Paradise safe is worth all the scars I received while nearly laying down my life for my neighbors. 

And. Fern did NOT wear the hat. Did NOT. But even if she had it would have probably not been on for long. 

Go get your free book. (there are others, too. Here's a list.) 
Murder of a Manuscript                                                                                              
Shock the Clock                                                                                                          
Common Mistakes Writers Make: Editing and Proofreading                                                
Firsts In Fiction: First Line Hooks, Hints & Help                                                      
Crashing Into Love - Where Personal Tragedies, Faith, & Love Collide                   
The Chamomile                                                                                                           
Out of the Frying Pan   (By the way, this does have 4.3 stars out of 5...so not only is it our story, but it's a good story...Just sayin.)                                                                                               
Searching for Sanity - Help for Moms from Moms of the Bible                                
Racin' Flat Out for Christ - Daily Devotions for NASCAR Fans                              
Why You Do What You Do - Your Personality is the Key  

And come back next week where I will share all the promised details in the first paragraph. Now. I have some serious cleanup to do! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Decorative Quandary

I have a problem. You'll know what I mean if you keep reading. 

Conversation between me and Fern: 

Me: Fern, please let me make you an Easter bonnet?!?!?! Please. PLEASE!!!!!

Fern: Not if it was made of gold and diamond encrusted Benjamins, Zula. That means no!

Me: But you would look so beautiful in the elegant bonnet I have pictured in my mind. Please!

Fern:  Sigh. What about my first answer did you not understand, Zula? I am not Easter bonnet material. I do not want to parade around like a silly matron who thinks she looks good with a garden party on her head. 

Me: But, Fern, I almost died last year. This is my first Easter where I really feel like I can celebrate life fully after staring the Grim Reaper in the eye. I want you to celebrate with me. 

Fern: It was a flesh wound, Zula! You are going to annoy me every day with this request. Fine! If it will quiet you, make me a hat and if it's not ridiculous I'll wear it for 5 minutes. 

You see it?!? She gave her permission. She made a promise. 

But I don't know what to do to pull off a hat she won't hate. Should you need a visual. Mine is covered with red paper roses. I've been making them for 2 days and have broken a nail and burned my fingerprints off. I didn't just cover the hat with paper roses. Ooooh that's a goodie and oldie. Paper Roses. Hummm, hum, humity-hum. 

Anyhoo. I'm adding a ribbon/rose train. It is going to be magnificent. I've made a hundred roses and probably need to make a hundred more to make this the most epic Easter bonnet, ever!!! 

But what do I do for Fern?!? Part of me wants to make paper roses out of brown grocery bags but that's not going to fly. What she'd like would be as exciting as a paper plate and I just can't! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Free Book and Minestroneyumm Soup

This just in! A copy of our story is being given away! Go here http://bit.ly/2nBaveJ ! 

Now here we go! To the other good stuff! I'm the best at scratch cooking. Not tooting my own horn, I'm just stating the facts. One day I might have to share testimonials to this fact. I have a notebook full of statements, comments and a blue ribbon from every state fair I've ever entered! 

But being a good cook means choosing your battles. I have to decide if I want to spend my time and energy on creativity or chopping things. Now. I love the feeling of chopping. It's a very satisfying stress reliever (especially with Fern around...I do so much chopping therapy) and the released scents can be just heavenly. But I will use a food processor like nobody's business if one will be a useful tool and free me up to be creative! 

That said I am not opposed to dump and go type meals. Soups are one of these. 


Today I share my minestrone style soup. Using fresh, frozen or canned ingredients you can make a restaurant quality soup. Delicious!

To cut down on sodium use home prepped dry beans, a homemade pesto and frozen or fresh veggies.

1 can of kidney beans (approx 15 ounce) (dump the juices down the sink, rinse and drain) 
1 can of white or great northern beans (approx 15 ounce) (dump the juice down the sink, rinse and drain) (use your own home canned beans 1 and 3/4 cups if you like) 
2 cans of diced tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano (approx 15 ounce each) (you could substitute chunky spaghetti sauce here.) (Or chopped fresh or canned tomatoes and add dried Italian spice (about a TBSP) and 2 - 3 cloves minced garlic)
Veggie broth (or chicken) (approx 4-5 cups) 
1 Cup of pesto sauce (you can use one that you've created, your favorite recipe, or store bought) 
1 Can of chopped spinach or 1 1/2 cups chopped frozen or fresh
1 Can (13-16 ounce) vegetable of choice. I used asparagus for kicks. I think I will use artichoke hearts in the future or green beans.
1 Cup pasta of choice. 
A Handful of quinoa Rinse it first if it's not prewashed. The package will say so.  

Put everything but the pasta in a crock or soup pot and stir well. Simmer for 4-6 hours. Add the dry pasta an hour before serving. Stir well and continue simmering.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Flowers and Book Sales !!!!

SALE!!!!
Yawn! Oh, that is so unladylike. I must just say it was a whirlwind of a weekend. Did you know I had a booth at a huge craft fair? Probably not, unless Fern has been whining about it. Goodness gracious, she knows I go all out a few times a year, you'd think she'd be used to it by now. 

This year I came up with some doozies. I sold several floral arrangements from my collection of silk beauties. I made enough money to restock and refill my craft closet. Now that Memorial Day is just around the corner, that money is going to stretch quite nicely. I think I'll grab some after Easter bargains, too. Don't you think a spring bouquet is just the thing to make you hope out of bed and shout "Good Morning!" 

Speaking of good morning and bargains... Our story is on sale for two days. 

For a mere $.99 (that's less than a gas station coffee!) you can download our story and read about some serious hubba-hubba heroes (and heroines) and a couple of damsels in distress. 

Tootle-doo...I have some craft supply plotting to do. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Just Getting Right To It. Applesauce Cake by Fern

Zula makes an applesauce cake that needed just a bit of tweaking to make it healthier. So here it is. Fernified. 

2 Cups flour
1 Cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 Cup sugar
2/3 Cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs or 2 Fern eggs (2 TBSP ground flax combined with 6 TBSP milk = 2 eggs)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 Cups applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans. 

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a pan or pans.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl including nuts. Make the Fern eggs in a medium bowl, add the remainder of the wet ingredients. If the coconut oil hardens because of the milk just stick the bowl in the preheating oven for a minute or zap in the microwave for a few seconds. Pour the dry into the wet or wet into the dry and stir just until combined. Pour into two greased cake pans or a greased 9 x 13. Bake approximately 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a knife. There should be moist crumbs. Remove from oven. You could probably make this a bundt cake and bake for 35 minutes. That's according to Zula. 

In a small bowl mix applesauce and powdered sugar until you get a glaze the consistency of what you want. Approximately 1 cup sugar to 1/4 cup applesauce.  Add a dash of cinnamon if you desire. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. 

What I changed: decreased oil and sugar amounts, omegas and fiber with the flaxseed. 

Okay, Zula. I'm done posting for the month.