Posted in Travel

California vs. Massachusetts – the weather

A reader contacted me today and asked (just kidding it was my sister reading the blog) why I never followed up on the California vs. Massachusetts comparison. Well, once I started considering the topic it made me sad to think about leaving my friends. But since she asked and I am now here in Northern Cal let’s do it.

Are you still reading? Surely you can guess the winner by now, but in case you need help here is a visual aid:

Average winter day in Massachusetts
Average winter day in California

To be fair there is lots of fun to be had in the snow but since it is only a 3 hour drive to winter sports in my area I will have to give the win to California. Especially since even in the warm days of summer California is more comfortable because of the low humidity.

Thanks again for reading and stay tuned for the next post comparing the east vs west coast wine production. Mid January I have scheduled an expert wine taster (just kidding it’s my friend from Georgia) to help me sample wines.


Posted in card making, craft

Creating our 2018 Christmas Cards

Woo hoo, there was no snow in Northern Cal but it was Christmas card making flurries for me this year with 14 different card designs sent to family and friends. Yes, I was like a kid in a candy store, bedazzled by new stamps, inks and shiny pearls. I enjoyed card making with a Stampin Up Group (thanks Brenda!) where I learned to emboss patterns and mask stamps. I appreciated meeting new people and having the fun of creating these cards. Afterwards, I took advantage of the January Sale-a-bration promotion over at Stampin Up, to fill my craft cupboard with awesome new images and colors. I can’t wait to post the fresh ideas this New Year.

Deja vous, writing this post brought to mind that last year my crafty friends from Hopkinton also upped my game a notch. Here’s a shout out to Susan B, Pat, Sharon, Danette and Susan M, I miss you ladies. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas creating beauty and joy as usual.

Blessings and a be-lated Merry Christmas

Stampin Up : Real Red & Old Olive Card Stock, Stylish Christmas Stamp & Farmhouse Christmas Paper

PS. I didn’t post last year because my blog wasn’t good enough to be on the web forever. As you know I started this blog as a journal and encouragement for some friends. Who knew that in 2017 my site traffic would pick up so I stopped blogging to consider what’s next. I’m excited to start posting again and my resolution for this year is to post a better story each time to be web- worthy.

Posted in craft

Christmas Cardmaking Fun part 2

To spread Christmas Cheer here is a collage of beautiful cards created by my friends for the Ladies Bible Study. Susan, Pat, Danette, Sharon, and Susan B, I had a great time cardmaking with you, thanks again for the inspiration.

Susan B made twenty of these darling cards for the group using the Stampin up “Merry Christmas Stamp” and tree dies. Her tree dies were also used as an embellishment and a relief pattern in many of the cards you see above. Beautiful! I just heard about the Stampin Up tutorial workshops and could spend all day watching their Youtube videos.

Finally, here is the updated modern Christmas Card inspired by the ladies. I’m pleased now that the colors are brightened, the ribbon is switched to green and the embellishments are sparkly. Friends make everything better.

Merry Christmas All,

Posted in craft

Christmas Cardmaking Fun

My friends at Faith Community Church in Hopkinton needed Christmas Cards for our Ladies Bible Study. So, I pulled out my Anna Griffin dies / embossers and Creative Memories scrapbook papers and joined in for some cardmaking fun. How blessed to be able to relax and chit chat with the crew while my tactile nature was fed. Here are a few of my favorite cards from our time together.

My 5×7 Christmas Card …

I pulled together some traditional elements in Christmas red and green for a card with components I liked but which lacked a holiday sparkle. In the next few days I’ll add some lightness with different shades of paper stock and add details to the text box. I do like the gold embellishment with the Lace Trim Die, however this is still a work in progress.

Susan’s 6×8 Christmas Card …

My friends created more modern cards with cleaner lines and eye catching embellishments, for example here is a 6×8 Card I love. Susan’s design is elegant and beautiful in it’s simplicity. My small contribution was the Merry Christmas text using the Sentiments Die.

My 5×7 Modern Christmas Card …

Taking inspiration from my friend’s modern layouts, here is an attempt at a playful card using the Lace Trim Embossing folder to add interest. It was a fun first effort.

These cards don’t have to be perfect to wish someone a Merry Christmas or let them know how much you care. So if it looks like fun, make something special yourself and invite a friend to join you!

Posted in craft, Food and Cooking

Thank you Katie Cakes!

I’m so thankful today for the all wonderful friends and family in my life. This is a thank you card for one of those special people, my amazing friend Katie who shares her gift of baking so generously. I recently invited her to an Island Wedding Murder Mystery Party and she brought a drunken rum cake from her business Katie Cakes, and two pies as well. The night was extra special beause of her company, delicious deserts, and over the top crazy beauty queen costume. Katie do you want to share that picture in the commentsūüėÉ?

Card created with the Anna Griffin Lace Trimmings embossing folder and die collection, my Cricut Cuttlebug and Creative Memories Cherish paper.

Posted in Travel

Massachusetts vs California

Sunset near San Francisco

So, hubby was offered a great new opportunity in California with a global tech firm. ¬† However my son, ¬†a high school junior, is finally settled into the¬†little Massachusetts town where we moved his freshman year. ¬†Previously we lived west of San Francisco ¬† but we’d move back significantly south for the new job.¬†¬†Yikes, fourth new neighborhood and school for my son. ¬†Thankfully,¬†it worked out we can stay in Massachusetts until my son graduates with my better half doing some extra travel for the new job.

Small fishing town in Eastern Massachusetts

With my husband trekking the world and my teenage son now driving I have considerable time to think about our return to California in two years. ¬† Now our family has found good and bad wherever we have ¬†lived, from north to south and east to west. ¬†The funny thing however is most Massachusetsans seems to think California is better. I ¬†hear it consistently and I’m not sure if it is evidence of ¬†humility or an inferiority complex here. ¬†But I thought it would be fun to compare the two distinct areas in my next couple of blogs.

Hope you’ll come back to read about our experiences with schools, historical sites, weather, ¬†outdoor spaces, ¬†biking, restaurants, ¬†and wineries in Northern California and Eastern Massachusetts . ¬† I’m looking forward to reliving favorite memories with you.


Posted in Fast food, Food and Cooking

$10 dinner : Swordfish & Lobster


Today was I can’t catch my breath ¬†rushed, so on my way home from Natick I flew into Whole Foods for anything quick for dinner. ¬†Grilled fish, which can be on the table in twenty minutes, was my first thought. ¬†It’s healthy and especially easy as ¬†my ¬†husband is a grill genius ¬†and we can divide and conquer the cooking.

I’m thinking “fast food” while scanning the fish counter and I found ¬†both swordfish ($16.99/ lb) and big beautiful lobster tails ($7) on sale . ¬†I was good and waited my turn then had the Swordfish cut into one 1.2 lb piece and snagged a tail. ¬† Once home the fish was cut ¬†into three healthy 4 Oz portions and dusted with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

The raw lobster tail was cut in half to more easily pull the meat, which was diced into 1/4 ” pieces. ¬†I melted ¬†butter in a saute pan, lots of butter, ¬†added the ¬†lobster and cooked until white and firm ( less then 4 minutes over medium heat), ¬†then threw in a handful of parsley for just another minute .

I prefer a rustic look on our everyday service (picture above) but once plated this good looking meal tasted better then it looked. The guys even called it gourmet!

As I was cleaning up the bags and dishes I realized our meal ¬†was less then ten dollars a plate. ¬†Which is pretty darn good considering each bite of fish had buttery rich and ¬†slightly sweet lobster with the meaty swordfish. ¬†The polenta was under a quarter (with ¬†cornmeal from the pantry) ¬†and the small green salad was about two dollars. ¬†I didn’t even realize what a good deal this was at first, I was just rushing to get dinner on the table. ¬†So I shared this menu to encourage you to ¬†look for the sales and enjoy some gourmet meals of your own, even on the rushed days,