You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?

You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?

You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?

January 29, 2017

   You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?  These beautiful eggs are so easy, even a child can make them.  Last year, I helped my granddaughter, Sophie, made some of these for herself.  She did a great job!

  These Easter eggs were created using real egg shells. Each egg had holes carefully pierced in both ends with a needle.   Placing your mouth over the hole in one end, blow through the hole.  This may take a little effort but the contents of the egg, the yolk, and albumin, will begin to spill from the hole in the other end.  Be sure you are holding the egg over a bowl!

   * It helps for the yolk to be broken inside.  Cover each hole with a finger and shake the egg.  This should bust the egg yolk and it will be easier for the contents to flow out of the hole.  

 The egg shells then need to be gently washed and dried.  

   You will also need Mod Podge and a paintbrush to apply the Mod Podge and the napkins.  I used the matte finish, but it doesn’t necessarily matter.  If you have a gloss finish, it would work fine, too.  You will need scissors to cut out the designs.

    Clear glitter is what makes these eggs beautifully sparkle and gives them such a lovely elegance.  It is not a necessity.  You could stop at this point but the glitter helps cover up where the papers overlap and gives such a beautiful finish, why wouldn’t you use it?


   You will also need decorative napkins of your choosing.  When choosing these, think of how you will cut and place the designs on the egg shell. Obviously, you won’t want a really large design that won’t be recognizable when cut and glued to the egg.

    The napkins I chose for this had a lot of elements, which could be cut out independently and many new designs could be created.  Notice that I also bought the napkins in the same design in coordinating colors?  If you do this, it will assure that the final decorated eggs will look great together and have a cohesive look.

   Have you ever noticed that decorative paper napkins have multiple thin layers of paper?  The top layer has the print or design on it.  The bottom layers are usually plain white.  


   What you want to do is peel off those bottom layers to reveal a thin tissue-like top layer with the design on it.


  Then elements of the design, or in some cases a whole section, can be cut out and clipped to fit nicely around the egg.   If the design doesn’t fit flatly on the curve of the egg, dab a little Mod Podge on the egg shell, place the middle of the cut tissue design on the dab of glue and snip small slices or in some cases “V’s”  around the edge so the paper will lay flat. (This is a pretty forgiving project!)  

    Then, dab glue onto the egg shell under the tissue edges and smooth the paper down with your brush.  Sometimes, I use the brush handle to roll over the tissue paper, which helps flatten and smooth the layer.

     Continue to paint the Mod Podge onto the egg, a little at a time, and place the napkin design carefully, creating a one of a kind look.  (It’s easier to apply the glue to the egg and then lay the napkin on it, not vice versa.) The holes you made in the egg ends need to be covered with some of the napkin, too!

Then, you won’t even know they are there!

    Next, the eggs need to be allowed to dry, and after drying, more Mod Podge needs to be applied to the entire egg and quickly rolled in a bowl of Crystal Clear glitter.

   Again, the eggs need to dry.  When they are completely dry,  you can place them in a bowl or basket with Easter grass.

  The clear Easter grass showcases the eggs and doesn’t compete with the colors. Don’t the eggs look great?  Don’t You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?





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Close To Cincinnati? You Need To Check Out These Places

Close To Cincinnati? You Need To Check Out These Places

 January 27, 2017

      If you’ve ever driven up or down I-75 through Cincinnati, you have probably seen Jungle Jim’s International Market.  You may recall having seen the tram that was purchased from King’s Island, which is stored in this building protected by the huge snake.

   A little over a year ago, we took the grandkids to Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate, which is amazing, by the way.  Although we have been there a few times, we had never visited Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield.

    In pursuit of some kitchen items, which I couldn’t seem to find on this side of the river, Dave and I took a trip around I-275.  We stopped at Old Time Pottery across the interstate from Cincinnati Mills Mall.  Their stock is constantly changing and on this day, the items I was in search of were not to be found there.  We used to have an Old Time Pottery in Florence and I miss having it so close. 

    Knowing that Jungle Jim’s was close by, we got back into the car and headed there.   The parking lot was pretty full.

     Upon entering the store, we quickly realized we could be here for hours looking for the cookwares.  Spotting a bunch of maps displayed by another entrance, I headed for them.  A gentleman who worked there must have noticed my ‘lost look’ and asked if he could help.  

    After asking him if they had housewares, he laughed and said, “Do we have housewares?”  


   He pulled out one of the maps and pointed out the section at the back on the other side of the building.  

   On our way, we saw the yacht above with the Gilligan’s Island crew and lots of tropical fruits.  Dave had to check out the seafood.  They have tanks of live fish and lobsters.


   Just like the Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate, they have a firetruck and loads of hot sauce.  Every kind you can imagine and some you can’t.

    And back beside the Great Britain display, I found the section I needed.  King Kong hovered above it.  This place is massive!


    Here, you can find every kind of pot, pan, dish, utensil, server, and whatever you need to cook or bake.  Yes, I found the items I had been searching for here in the Italian section, a gnocchi board and right behind here, a potato ricer.

   Even though I have made gnocchi before, I admit it, I am a sucker for cooking and baking gadgets!  These will help make the process a little easier, the end product a little lighter and the ridges on this little board will help the gnocchi hold the sauce.  You can use the back of a fork for that, too.  Whatever… I told you I like gadgets.

     I  found a small pair of serving tongs, which will come in handy.  We picked up some arborio rice for risotto.   They have it in bulk and the price is about half what it is in our local store.  Score!  This place is overwhelming!  Don’t go here hungry!  At this point we were hungry and we paid for our things and left but we’ll be back.


    From there, we headed west on I-275, which loops around Cincinnati.  Just off of I-275 at 6052 State Route 128  in Cleves, Ohio is Kreimer’s Bier Haus, which serves German food and specialty beers.   The people who work here are friendly and the food is good.  We stopped here for a late lunch.


  As you walk in, you are greeted by a hostess and this huge bar.  

    There is a deck out back where you can be seated at a handmade table with benches in better weather.    On this day, we sat inside where more handmade benches and tables are.

Close to Cincinnati? You need to check out these places! on

  Kreimer’s has daily specials, which you can see on the card below.  Our favorite day to go here is Sunday!  You can order any 2 entrees for $30.00!

    There is no Saturday special and yes, that was the day we stopped by here.  Since it was lunch time, I had a salad with grilled chicken and Dave had this impressive plate of food.

    His choice was a burger on a pretzel bun loaded with onion straws and french fries. ( Usually, he orders one of their steaks.)

    There is also a patio in the back and a bar where you can order your favorite drinks.  The back overlooks the Great Miami River.  In the summer they have music, too.


   Yes, this has become one of our favorite places and we recommend it.  It was a successful day in pursuit of kitchen gadgets and an added bonus was stopping at Kreimer’s for another delicious meal.  Close to Cincinnati?  You need to check out these places!



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7 Tips For ‘Warming Up’ Your Winter Home

7 Tips For ‘Warming Up’ Your Winter Home

7 Tips For ‘Warming Up’ Your Winter Home

January 13, 2017

   7 Tips For Warming Up Your Winter Home seems perfect right now, doesn’t it?  I was recently inspired by the Douglas Elliman Florida office to share a style board of ideas for ‘warming up’ your home for the cold winter months.  Douglas Elliman Real Estate is the nation’s fourth largest real estate company.

   Here in Northern Kentucky, warm colors and cozy details just seem appropriate during these crazy winters.  Winters here are very ‘gray’.  There seem to be lots of rain, sleet, and snow and little sunshine.

Creating a balanced and harmonious space is the key to ‘warming up’ your home.

  #1 – Balance, harmony, and scale.

 In order to create harmony, balance the amount of curved and rectangular shapes in your rooms.  Too many straight lines in a room create an uneasy feeling, the opposite of cozy.  There are a lot of straight lines on the architecture of the fireplace wall and the palladian window wall.  I deliberately bought a round coffee table to repeat the curve of the arch over the fireplace and the arches of the palladian window.  The sofas have rounded arms and the chair has a rounded back, too.


   Soften Sharp Edges. The palladian window has a lot of sharp edges, even though the top windows have a gentle curve.   Those sharp edges screamed for softening with fabric.  

   Scale, or how an item relates to the size of a room, is so important to consider when decorating your home.   I drew out a plan for this window, with the idea of using long columns of draping fabric for the curtains and set about to find the right hooks to use.  

    Every curtain hook I found was too small.  On one of my shopping trips, I stumbled across metal tiebacks that resembled hooks!  They were a perfect size!  Click here ► to read how I Used Ordinary Things in an Uncommon Way to Create an Extraordinary Look.

Scale.  When we moved to this house, we brought furniture from our smaller first home.  The sofa was scaled much smaller.  The back of the sofa was lower.  The sofa was not as long and had smaller, thinner arms.  It seemed dwarfed in the new family room!  That tall ceiling seemed to need larger-scaled furniture.

   Imagine that small sofa for a moment.  It did not create a warm cozy feeling.  The room seemed too large to be cozy.  Too many little items create a busy, unsettling feeling.  Yes, the scale of the items you use in your home can help create a warmer cozier look and feel.

#2 – Furniture Placement

   Place sofas and chairs in furniture groups for easy conversation.  Make sure there is a table close to the sofa and chairs for setting drinks, popcorn, etc.

The furniture was rearranged in the room so the Christmas tree could be placed in front of the palladian window and the sofa was moved to face the fireplace.   After doing that, it dawned on me that it was the perfect placement for enjoying a fire this winter!  

    Keep the seating areas off the wall if your space permits!  Have you ever visited someone who has a huge family or living room and there could have been a few bowling alleys down the middle of it?   The sofa, love seats and chairs all line the walls?  I visited one where there was no coffee table and all the chairs and sofas were against the wall.  There was just open space in the middle of the room. There was seriously enough for another good sized room!

    This is a ‘model home’ room, which is the same as our family room.  Notice the furniture placement.   Doesn’t that armoire look awkward where it’s placed? Notice the sofa arm is against the window wall?  Not so cozy, right?


    These rooms are 21 feet x 17-1/2 feet and two stories.  That’s a relatively large room and because of the 2-story ceiling, it seems even more so.  Regardless, it seems pretty cozy because of the furniture placement.  The sofa, love seat and chair create a nice grouping pulled toward the center of the room.


   Next to the backside of the sofa, which visually separates the family room from the kitchen eating area, we have a game table and two chairs.  Often, people sitting on the sofa are watching the game being played, which is most often checkers or chess.  This game table is really used a lot!  When needed, the chairs are moved over to the kitchen table for additional seating if we have friends or family over for a meal.

#3 – Color.

 Choose two or three main colors to use as accent colors to decorate your room.  The walls in our home are painted neutral tan, blue, and green colors.  They were pulled from a piece of fabric, which I loved years ago and still love today. ► (Foolproof Way to Choose Paint Colors For Your Home.)  

    Since all of the paint colors for the walls were pulled from one fabric, the pillows, lamps, and decorative items can easily be moved from one to another with no color clashing.

   The sofas and chairs are also neutral colors.  It is easy for me to change out the look and feel of the room by adding decorative items, pillows, and throws in one of those accent colors.  (My favorite is red!)

    Display some extra pillows and throws in a textural basket for easy access and added color.

    The key to creating harmony with color is spreading the color throughout the room.  If all the color is on one side of the room, it will look lopsided, right?  Spread those colorful pillows and objects around the room.  Remember to use different textures as well as color.  

    Anytime I think of coziness, I think of throws draped over the chairs and sofas and lots of pillows, don’t you?   That doesn’t mean you have to buy new pillows every time the season changes.  If you can sew a straight line, whip up a new pillow case.  Can we talk about a simple project?  

    Can’t sew?  Pillow covers of every color, texture, shape, and pattern can be bought in stores and on the internet on many different sites!  Hobby Lobby has over ninety pillow covers priced under 20 bucks online!  Some were as low as $3.95!

   These don’t have to be expensive.  Our local Hobby Lobby had this pillow cover for $14.99 and using the 40% off coupon, it ended up being $8.99.


   The pillow cover above was found online at Society 6 for twenty dollars.  The pillow is a copy of a page from an old album with a floral print superimposed on it.  It sits among other pillows on an antique sofa in the living room.  I love it!  The artwork for the items on Society 6 is created by hundreds of thousands of artists around the world.

 #4 – Lighting.

Overhead lighting, task lighting, and up lighting are all used in the family room.  Overhead lighting comes in handy at times, but most often we use the lamps, and the up lights, which create mood lighting and drama!  


   The little lights on each end of the ledge shoot light up from under the decorative items and cast interesting shadows on the wall and ceiling.  The light from the fireplace creates additional mood lighting, too!

    This little lantern with lights affixed to the top of the inside had a golden deer displayed in it for Christmas.  The faux snow was left in the bottom and this twig with pearl balls and golden leaves was manipulated into a spiral to wrap loosely around the berry red candle.  How simple is that?


 # 5 – Flowers.

 Fresh flowers can brighten up and give life to a room.  In the winter, they remind me of warmer days ahead.  While a bouquet of roses or cut flowers is lovely, cut flowers don’t last all that long, unfortunately.


   My favorite flower for inside is the potted orchid.  They are so delicate and architectural, aren’t they?  These can be purchased at the local groceries now and they are so inexpensive!  While the cut flowers might last for a week, these orchid blooms will last for weeks and sometimes, months!  

   Don’t be afraid of these plants!  They may look exotic but they are easy-care, too.  The biggest problem these plants have is someone who over waters!  Simply place 3 or 4 ice cubes at the base of the plant once a week.  That’s it!  Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can do this!


  # 6 – Scents to make your home a welcoming retreat.   

We often have homemade cookies, buns or bread, stew, soups, or chili during the winter.  I can’t tell you how many people come into the house and say, “That smells so good!”

Even if you don’t cook or bake on any given day, the scent from a fragrant candle or just some cinnamon, cloves, apple peel, or orange rinds in a pot simmering on the stove is a pleasant welcoming. has 15  simmering pot recipes if you’d like some inspiration.

#7 – A cup of tea or a glass of wine and a good movie or some relaxing music!  

After all of your efforts ‘warming up’ your home, treat your friends, and, or yourself to a nice meal, dessert, a warming cup of tea, or a great glass of wine and a good movie or some relaxing music.  Those things are in harmony with any room, right?  (A Cabernet Sauvignon pairs perfectly with homemade chocolate chip cookies.)


   We have actually managed to engage all your 5 senses, haven’t we?  Creating a pretty room, incorporating textural elements, scents to enjoy, relaxing music, and a drink to sip, cover all of your senses, sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste.

    Most of all, surround yourself with things you love.  If you furnish your home with things you love, your friends and family are sure to feel welcome and comfortable in your home, too.

Hope these 7 Tips For Warming Up Your Winter Home inspire you!



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Make The Best White Velvet, Jam Filled, Chocolate Drizzle Cake

Make The Best White Velvet, Jam Filled, Chocolate Drizzle Cake

Make The Best White Velvet, Jam Filled, Chocolate Drizzle Cake

January 7, 2017

   Make The Best White Velvet, Jam Filled, Chocolate Drizzle Cake ever!   Across Pinterest boards, there are plenty of pictures of these ‘drizzle cakes’.  They look so pretty and the ones with fruit on top are especially appealing to me!


   Imagining a drizzle cake with chocolate covered fruits and raspberries prompted making the chocolate covered cherries a couple of days ago.  As I expected, Dave and the kids were snitching these behind my back.  Fortunately, there were still enough for the cake.  Although looking at the pictures, perhaps the top should have been covered with more fruits!

   Some chocolate covered strawberries were also made using the leftover melted chocolate from the cherries.  The raspberries were left au naturel.

   Looking at the picture, I probably should have pooled some chocolate at the base and on the platter…  Hmm…  Next time!

    The cake was, once again, the white velvet cake from ‘The Cake Boss’.  This is my favorite white cake!  It makes two 8″ layers.  You definitely need to use the pans that are 3″ high or you will have an oven catastrophe!  It takes almost an hour to bake these at 325°.

    Once baked and cooled, the cakes were cut in half, forming four layers.  A dam of piped frosting was piped along the outer edge of each layer.  Then the homemade raspberry jam was heated and brushed between the layers.   You can see the jam in the picture below.  ( Wax paper was slipped under the bottom edges of the cake to keep from making a total mess of the cake plate.)

    The white buttercream frosting recipe was the one from the ‘Magic Secret To The Best Buttercream Frosting.’   Since the frosting was not used between the layers, there was enough leftover to frost another small cake.  Actually, there was about as much leftover as there is in those little Ready To Spread Frosting tubs you buy and I can’t begin to tell you how much better it tastes.

    After frosting the cake, remove the wax paper from under the cake, if you have used it.  Chill in the refrigerator and make the chocolate ganache.   Ganache is very simple to make.


Chocolate Ganache:

1-1/3 cups chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream


   Measure chocolate chips and pour into a heat-safe glass bowl.  Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it just begins to come to a boil.  Pour over the chocolate chips and cover with a lid for 5-minutes.  Don’t touch until the five minutes are over.

    Remove the lid.  Stir or gently whisk until it comes together and forms a velvety sauce.

       Allow the chocolate to cool a bit before using.  With a spoon, drizzle the ganache along the edges of the top layer, allowing the chocolate to drip down the sides.  After circling the top of the cake edges, spoon additional chocolate over the top, completely covering the center.


   Then, begin decorating with chocolate covered cherries, chocolate covered strawberries, and the raspberries.  You can use additional fruits if you like.

   Two Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes were also used.  These were the chocolate hazelnut pirouettes, but there are other flavors.

   I think the addition of those creme filled wafers really added to the design of the cake top.  Don’t you?  Yes, they are tasty, too. 

    In retrospect, I think covering more of the top with additional fruit would have been nice.  However, this cake seemed to be a big hit.  A couple of the kids said they thought it was their favorite cake.  It may be requested again, ya know!

    Maybe this will inspire you to Make The Best White Velvet, Jam Filled, Chocolate Drizzle Cake ever!




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Chocolate Covered Cherries Are Easy To Make!

Chocolate Covered Cherries Are Easy To Make!

Chocolate Covered Cherries Are Easy To Make!

January 6, 2017

   Before I ever realized that Chocolate Covered Cherries Are Easy To Make, I loved them!  Who could believe that the sweet liquid surrounding the cherry in that shell of chocolate could be made at home?  Who even knew what that sweet liquid was?


   Each year at Christmas, our school bus driver, Zola, would give us each a box of chocolate covered cherries as we walked off the bus for winter break.  Those are my first memories of chocolate covered cherries.

    We lived ten miles out of town and back a quarter of a mile private drive.  My mother would leave for work before the four of us had to catch the bus.  Zola knew this and a few times, she blew the horn and waited for us!  We would run like crazy down that quarter of a mile and pile into the bus.  We never missed the bus!  What a great bus driver she was and what a great treat those cherries were!   

   A few years ago, a fellow employee, at the bank where I worked, told me she and her mother would make chocolate covered cherries every Christmas.  What?  She had my attention!

   Am I the only one who thought those were made by some companies that had highly guarded secrets and special equipment to make these tasty morsels?  Did you also think that the liquid was probably injected into those chocolate shells with some special syringe?

    Anyway, I asked for the recipe and she shared it gladly.   Her recipe, below, included paraffin to melt together with the chocolate, making the chocolate firmer and shinier, which can be omitted if that bothers you.  


Chocolate Covered Cherries

10 oz. Maraschino Cherries with Stems – drained (24 cherries)          
3 Tblsp. Melted Butter
2 Tblsp. Light Corn Syrup
2 Tblsp. Half and Half
2-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 cups Chocolate Chips 
*1 cup White Chocolate Chips (to drizzle over the chocolate covered cherries, if desired.)

1/2 Bar of Paraffin

Remove the cherries from the jar, dab with paper towels and set on paper towels to continue drying.  

Meanwhile, stir the butter, corn syrup, half-and-half, and powdered sugar into a dough.  

Place in the freezer for a few minutes.  (Put back in the freezer if necessary to firm up for making a ball.)

Take about a teaspoon of the dough and form it into a ball.  Use extra powdered sugar to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.


    The secret to doing this is to keep the dough cold and moving.  Quickly, shape the ball and flatten.  When the dough sits on your hands too long, it warms and begins to stick to your hands.  


Smash the ball into a flat round and press around and completely cover the cherry. 

Place covered cherries on wax paper lined sheet pan.  

Place the dough-wrapped cherries into the freezer for 1-hour.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and paraffin over a double boiler. 


Holding the stems, dip the dough wrapped cherries into the melted chocolate.

Tip – After dipping, hold the dipped cherry for a minute, which allows the chocolate to harden and will result in less puddling when you set the cherry on the wax paper.

 Place on sheet pan lined with wax paper.

*Refrigerate the chocolate covered cherries for 20 minutes.

If desired, carefully drizzle melted white chocolate over the chocolate covered cherries.

 Store in the refrigerator and serve cold.  
These can also be frozen for longer storage. 


   The recipe says that the inside around the cherry will liquefy and be best in a few days or a week or so.  Right!  Like these won’t be gone in a flash!  Unfortunately, my family will never know if this is true…

   Hopefully, they last overnight because my plan is to use some of them to decorate a birthday cake for Sophia.   Don’t you love those ‘drip’ cakes all over Pinterest now?  Well, my plan is to make one of those with chocolate ganache drips of course.  Just imagine these chocolate cherries on top!

   Sophia is going to be delighted.

   Maybe these will inspire you to make some of your own!  Wouldn’t these be great for Valentine’s Day?  Yes, and they would be even more special because they are homemade.  These Chocolate Covered Cherries Are Easy To Make!



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