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Skin Care Tips and A Jemma Tale

Hi Friends, just popping in for a real quick visit and sharing a couple of neat skin products too. These thoughts come to you today on the tailcoat of my previous post; The Voice Of A Woman. I seem to be on a pro-woman kick right now, and who knows I might be for a very long time. Now, not to say I haven't always had a GO Girl outlook, because I have. It is now just framed with the viewpoint of a 60 year old woman.

I am a seeker of information, innovation, improvement, and being the best you can be at any age. So when I saw myself in the mirror the other day, I saw my skin texture and Melasma. You know how we all go through our daily routines with out really "seeing" ourselves. I mean who has time to scan ourselves and really who wants to, right? Boring...

I wouldn't have thought much about my reflection in the mirror, except I really can't see that well. So when I saw larger pores, saggier skin and brown spots dancing in the mirror I knew I was in need of some repair. I can't change my age and I don't want to. It took quite a bit of work to get where I am today. You know that is true, right? The journey is marvelous and also bumpy. I am perfectly content where I am in life, I just want to be able to wear minimum make-up and feel my best. Because feeling our best is very important to how we frame each day of our lives and framing it positively is just as important at 90 as it as 16.

It's back to this woman thing where it is all for one and one for all. So I found myself a female dermatologist. I put on my white jeans (even after Labor Day) red Keds and a pink and white checkered blouse. Naturally it is as humid as it can be so my make-up dripped off before I even got inside her office and my checkered face matched my checkered blouse.

I am still not quite sure what I signed up for, that day,because before I knew it I had a headband on and was getting my photo taken from several different angles.

Now you know that this is going to be terrifying right? A camera, a computer screen and a woman with dripping makeup with a headband on.

I was scared of what I was going to see when those photos were displayed on a large computer screen. Do you want to know what I saw??? I saw my Grandmother! The sweet young technician told me that this was very typical. Women either see a version of a Grandmother or their Mother in themselves displayed on the screen.

So, I am here to tell you it's true. We all become our Mothers or their Mothers one way or another and it's a really good thing. Because these are the powerful women that paved the way for us, our daughters, our granddaughters. These woman provide reference and we can take the good stuff they gave us and let the not-so good stuff blow away like feathers in the wind. Were they perfect? Heavens no, but neither are we.

Here are two of my new favorite skin products.

Retinol Skin Ceuticals or you can get a stronger prescription strength from your Dermatologist.

"Retinol is a retinoid, a derivative of vitamin A which occurs naturally in your skin. It’s one of the most popular skincare ingredients on the market today because formulas with retinol deliver visible results. In fact, retinol is one of the most effective forms of retinoid you can buy without a doctor’s prescription."

Skin Ceuticals Vitamin C Serum or Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

Of course always wear sunscreen and remember to apply often. I like Elta Md Tinted UV Clear and Neutrogena Sensitive Skin.

Thanks for joining me and be the powerhouse you were meant to be!


The Voice Of A Woman

Have you ever felt invisible as a woman? Do you remember when, why, or what made you feel that way? I have felt invisible as a woman more times than I care to even admit. There have been many times I felt like I was operating in the dark. I knew, that I knew more than I was permitted to share in order to keep harmony. As I write this I cannot fathom that I navigated through life like this. I believe that all women, each and every single one of us is designed perfectly by our Heavenly Father to do great things. But in order to accomplish great things we must speak up. Silence is not tolerated. So in honor of all women; those women who surround me now and those of you who have forged ahead of me, I write this from my heart for you.

Do you see the shoulder of an invisible woman in this photo?

You see I am way past invisibility now, that young gal got left behind several lifetimes ago. The gift of age has brought me visibility, and a voice... and of course wrinkles. But I feel it's a pretty fair trade. So just maybe this is why I felt so angry earlier in the day.

While Sadie and I were out for our morning walk we were both nearly struck by a car. We saw the vehicle approaching so we moved all the way over to the very edge of the asphalt road. ( this is a two lane road) As the vehicle got closer it sped up and veered toward to us. We jumped off into the grass.

I asked Sadie "Are we invisible?"

Am I just a hat? Am I an invisible woman?

So you know me well enough by now that this got me to thinking and knowing that I must share this with you. I need to speak up. Women need to speak up. We must be our own advocates.

First I was mad. I was so mad. I was steaming, sweating, huffing, puffing mad. In fact I was so mad that I walked an extra mile just to find the vehicle that forced us off the road and wrote down the license plate number.

I told Sadie, " this is just so wrong Sadie, what is wrong with our society when a person can't even slow down for a woman and her dog and nearly run them right over."

Sadie just looked at me and shook her head too. Both of us were very mad now.

So I thought to myself society might not see me. But I sure bet they'll look at art, a beautiful plate, some flowers and maybe even my dog.

We must not, cannot be invisible women. It is our responsibility to one another to be the voice, the power, the love, the community which encourages and nurtures. With joyful hearts we need to be promoting creativty, intelligence, inner-strength, healthy mindset and curiosity among us all, at all ages, all seasons, all walks of life.

About a year ago I met this incredible woman who is an advocate for all women. So, I will simply say this. I have been blessed. I was blessed to share a few hours with Amy Poehler, as she genuinely encouraged me as a Maker, and most of all as a woman.

Today I am sharing with you her Smart Girls organization. While this uplifting organization is specifically dedicated to young people, it speaks volumes to us all.

"Founded by artist Amy Poehler and producer Meredith Walker, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization is dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves. We emphasize intelligence and imagination over “fitting in.” We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We are a place where people can truly be their weird and wonderful selves. We are funny first, and informative second, hosting the party you want to attend."

Live with strength, courage, and a voice that resonates long after you have moved on.


Homemade Old Fashioned Caramel Icing

Well, hello friends! Today is a rainy day here in North Texas and I am not complaining. Anytime Texas gets rain is a good day, except if you are making homemade candy or frosting. If I had been making my Old Fashioned Caramel Icing today the humidity might just have made it take a tad bit longer to set up and I might have had to add powdered sugar to it too. Good news is that I made the homemade cocoa cake last week and the frosting too.

As you can see by this photo this is a great, creamy, easy to spread homemade caramel icing recipe. This is an adaptation from the recipe which I found on Food Network, I changed out the regular milk for evaporated milk and added a splash more vanilla. I really am so happy with the results. Before we proceed any further with this recipe though, there are a few Kitchen utensils that you will need.

One you will need a cast iron skillet and candy thermometer for this recipe. You will find other recipes that will give you different ingredients and methods for making homemade Caramel Icing. But this recipe truly works. There is no water added or lemon juice. Stick to these ingredients and method and you will be successful.

Two you need two silicone spatulas or silicone spoons.

Three You will have to stir the icing over medium heat for longer than you want to.

If you are still with me whoohoo! If you are not, I totally understand. Just go to the store and buy a can of Caramel icing and enjoy!

So here we go!

Photos first followed with Caramel Icing recipe. If you have any questions please shoot me an email and I will clarify anything that I have not included in the printable recipe.

1 cup of sugar in cast iron skillet to begin caramelizing.

Did you know that there is a science behind making caramel? Yep! Read all about it right here in Fine Cooking.

White sugar is transforming.

White sugar has melted and NOT scorched! Key is to keep stirring over a moderate heat with a silicone spatula.

To see a short video of how I made Caramel frosting visit my Instagram account and click on Stories.

Thank you for joining me today and I truly hope that you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do. You know it would be so tasty on an apple cake too, especially if you have fresh apples from the Farmers Market or from your own apple Orchard!

Positvely Perfect Homemade Coca Cake

Hi Friends! You asked for more recipes in our reader response survey so I am going to deliver! Today I have a positively perfect homemade cocoa cake recipe to share with you! I get crazy happy when I discover a recipe that is share worthy and this delicious cake most definitely is! It's has the loveliest consistency too, not too dry, not too gooey and a day or two in the fridge makes it even tastier.

Cocoa cakes have been around for a very long time, in fact they were one of my Mom's most favorite cakes to make. I have thought about that some and I think I know why. Cocoa was an ingredient that she always had in her kitchen cupboard. I would venture to say that most of us have these basic staples in our kitchen; Cocoa, flour, sugar, oil, vanilla salt and baking soda and baking powder. If you have these along with an egg or two you can make a cake.

I have always enjoyed baking when I have the time, but I sure don't like to be rushed. Have you ever tried to make a homemade cake in-between car-pooling, tending a cross baby, suffering with a back-ache or being just plain tired? Well don't even go there, the frustration and agony of defeat will leave you spent and believing that you can't make a cake! With a scenario like this there is a good chance that the precious batter will end up going down the disposal.

( You know I've tried this … and there were tears.) There is a place and time for making and baking a cake from scratch, looking back it may not have been with a small child on my hip!

Don't rush the seasons of life.

Now, as perfect as my Mom's Cocoa cake recipe is, I felt it was time to try a new recipe out. Whenever I venture out of my baking comfort zone I go with folks I know. The recipe for this cake and for the caramel icing recipe that I will share next week comes from Trisha Yearwood. I have made a few tweaks here and there.

I dressed up this delicious cake with a handmade cake topper that you can easily make too.

Just click right on over right here!

Thank you for joining me today!

Next week I'll be sharing my homemade Caramel Frosting and I'll share with you the details on how to caramelize brown sugar in a cast iron skillet. Hopefully I will be able to include the video I made too.

Happy weekend !


It's A Wrap Season One of Making It

It's a wrap friends, season one of Making It on NBC is over. While my presence on the show was somewhat brief the positive experience is not! The camaraderie lives on in my spirit and heart and propels me to continue to believe in the goodness and creativity of mankind and that truly when we design and Make from our heart we give that gift to others.

MAKING IT — “Home Sweet Home” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Our Making It journey began about a year ago. Eight of us arrived in California to join Nick and Amy in this Oasis set against the California Hillside. We had never met, never spoken, and yet when we did, there was an immediate bond. I suppose it was because "we got one-another." We understood the quirkiness that goes along with an artistic soul. We were welcomed by Amy and Nick and the entire production company in an unexpected way. Not a what I would imagine "Hollywood way," but a " come on in and sit down way."

MAKING IT — “You Crafty” Episode 101 — Pictured: — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

After having gone through a rigorous interview process several months prior, we arrived eager, hopeful, happy and ready for this new chapter and opportunity in our lives. We put on our aprons, smiles and heated up our glue guns!

MAKING IT -- "You Crafty" Episode 101 -- Pictured: -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

This amazing crafting barn took our breath away, every single day that we walked in. The details, the colors, the work stations. Just take a moment and savor the beauty of it all.

MAKING IT -- "You Crafty" Episode 101 -- Pictured: -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Can you imagine what was going through my mind? A Farm girl from Thornton Idaho, with years of home crafting style under her belt. Not only was I sharing my joy of crafting on national television, I was part of the Maker movement and that makes me very proud!

MAKING IT -- "Inside Out" Episode 105 -- Pictured: (l-r) Dayna Isom Johnson, Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Simon Doonan -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Last night we watched and wondered, as our final three beloved and talented Makers designed a Wedding with adept skill, composure and extreme talent.

Amber, Jo and Kheim.

MAKING IT -- Episode 106 -- Pictured: (l-r) -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Our judges; Etsy expert Dayna Isom Johnson and Window Dresser, writer and Creative Ambassador Simon Doonan, declared that our Master Maker is Kheim!

Congratulations Kheim, well deserved, and I am looking forward to the great things that are on the horizon for you and Amanda!

"All for one and one for all." Billy Kheel, Robert Mahar, Nicole Sweeney, Jeff Rudell , Jemma Olson.

Thanks for joining me here, Instagram and on Making It!

I appreciate all of the support, encouragement and joy you have shared with me.

Are you ready for that homemade chocolate cake recipe...coming up very soon. We must fuel creativity!


Handmade Love Bird Cake Topper

Hello Friends! In commemoration of the final episode of Making It and my Birthday, I thought we'd explore the possibility of making our own DIY Cake Topper. Do not be afraid! I am the Maker who makes things that you can make too! You know, there is no earthly reason why we can't. I know that you and I have creative ideas bursting like bubbles and we need to take that creativity and put it to good use! Let's do this!

I've enjoyed making, and baking years ago I took a Wilton Cake Decorating Class. I learned so much. I messed up making roses... but not the stars and I even got a handle on how to use fondant to create very special cakes. But the thing I loved most about it all was that I could make very special Birthday cakes for my children.

I made a Strawberry Shortcake cake ( do you remember how good Strawberry Shortcake smelled) a Batman Cake, and of course the traditional Easter Bunny Cake.

The thing I most disliked about it all was clean up...But, that was probably because of cleaning up that buttercream was a little like glue, do you remember that too????

For this sweet Love Bird Topper we are going to need just a few supplies and of course a really good cake and frosting. I have that covered as I am going to be sharing this recipe this week too.

One word for this homemade cake and frosting. Scrumptious!

A good designing and creating practice is to always use a sketch or mood board when designing projects before purchasing any product. I think of it as making a grocery list before going to the grocery store.

Supplies for Love Bird Cake Topper

  1. Beveled mirror (5"-7")
  2. Silver wire basket ( 2 1/2")
  3. (2) 1" White Birds
  4. Mini fabric roses
  5. La Petites Rosette Flower Stickers
  6. Stick on jewels and hearts
  7. Edible glitter
  8. Epoxy (Note: In general, casein mixes will set in 20-30 minutes and attain full curing in 4-6 hours.)

Making The Love Bird Cake Topper

  1. Invert silver wire basket and using epoxy glue attach beveled mirror to basket. Dry for 30 minutes.
  2. Position love birds on beveled mirror and attach with epoxy glue.
  3. Attach desired embellishments to Love Birds.
  4. Attach fabric roses with epoxy glue.
  5. Attach stickers as desired.
  6. Once epoxy has set place Love Bird cake topper on cake and sprinkle edible glitter on mirror.

Congratulations to the Bride and Groom on Making It this Tuesday!

Thanks for stopping by friends and may love surround you this week!