GO-GO-GO and HAPPY SPRING

Hi Everyone, so sorry, I’ve been missing in action (and I do mean action!) ~ it’s been go-go-go everyday, and today is no different.  But I wanted to catch up,💞 say Happy Spring🌷, and show you a little of what’s been going on . . . MUSICA

I was reminded by Gill, one of our luv-lee Girlfriends, that Mothering Sunday (same as our Mother’s Day) is this Sunday in the UK ~ Kellee and I had just designed this crown which I’d put up on Twitter,  to show what we’ve been up to, promising the link . . . so, Happy Mother’s Day to our British Girlfriends, and to everyone else!  HERE‘s the link so you can print it out! We decorated ours in two ways: first, as shown above, by glueing on rick-rack for the tie . . .

… and second, by tying ribbon through the marked holes (you will see when you print it out). They fit everyone’s head, and they’re fun! And you know, everyone feels special in a crown.💖 And, here’s a little something delicious to help you celebrate . . .

Mother’s Day, as proposed by, Anna Jarvis, the Mother of Mother’s Day, “is a day of sentiment, not profit.”💞

Homemade pancake breakfast-in-bed, handpicked roadside wildflowers, or a homemade Coconut Layer Cake are most appropriate.🍰 And the occasional straw hat or teacup, I would say. Filled with springtime sentiment of love ever after.😍

To our UK Girlfriends: I hope this Sunday will be a day filled with flowers💐 and flowers🌷 and flowers🌸 and remembrance for everything that England has been through these last few days . . . nature is the healing thing, as you of all the people in the world, so obviously know. 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 And in solidarity, with prayers, and blessings, and gratitude for all we have, and best wishes from us to you.💞 I might add, people should not be messing with us.⚡️

It’s been a WONDERFUL trip for Joe and I. We’ve been up and down and across the state,  seeing people we love, to Arizona and back again, and a couple of weeks ago, along the way, we enjoyed this bright worm moon ~ I took this photo with my cell phone from our moving car ~ doesn’t it look like a painting? Love the purplish-pink color above the bushes.

And Barbara, our friend who is taking care of Jack at home, sent me THIS pic (from the Island) of the snow and the wild sea that she took with her phone. Way different weather here, and all beautiful.

Joe and I have had dueling cameras among the flowers . . . I’m taking a picture of him as he’s . . .

. . . taking a picture of me.

Early morning in our garden here at the Studio, long shadows from the Albizzia tree, still too early for blooms . . . but the jasmine that climbs on our house and over the doors (on the right of photo) is blooming and smells wonderful. Loving that the days are getting longer now . . .

From the front porch, you can see that what isn’t green, is yellow . . .

We had a wonderful book signing at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo . . . I have so much old time history with the Apple Farm . . . and now they are carrying lots of my books and products and things.  They could Not have made it nicer for us. They even saved us a parking space . . . this is the view from our parking space!

And this is me with some of their wonderful staff!

And here we are inside the tent . . . It was the BEST day! As usual, the nicest people in the world come to my book events. ❤️ As anyone who was there can tell you, I’m not exaggerating.

And while I signed books, Joe took pictures . . .

If you remember the “Pancakes” story from years ago, about my mom and her red lipstick … That’s Murph (who wrote the story) on the left, and Vicki’s on the right . . . along with two friends they met in the line . . . which is why I always wish I was in the line! They have so much fun out there!

Two Girlfriends came dressed in Black Dog T-shirts in honor of Joe and the restaurant he ran on Martha’s Vineyard for 25 years. Pretty sweet!

Father’s and daughters . . .

Two best-friends-for-life . . .

Old friends and new . . . I could show these smiling faces all day . . .

‘Course I’m always nervous talking in front of people, even our Girlfriends!  I do it all with clammy hands. It’s because I work alone for months, then suddenly I’m out and about, which is always a surprise, no matter how often it happens, which really isn’t that often. But everyone was so wonderful and their questions made it easy.

I had so much fun, in the end they almost had to get the hook to make me go. 

We had a mystery guest star in the audience. Cliff came! Cliff, for those who don’t know, is a very controversial “character” from my books The Fairy Tale Girl, and Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams.  But he was there ~ laughing, saying nice things, and as sweet as pie. No red Ferrari this time, he was quite incognito in his silver Maserati. But you could recognize him from the little speck of blood on his hand from the tree trimming. The more things change . . . We have his fun book in our web store, did I tell you? We do, Cliff’s memoir is called American Made, it’s a wonderful funny baby boomer book, and I’m in it too . . . although he was much nicer to me than I was to him.  And don’t worry, he and Joe like each other, they get along fine, they even man-hug! (Urban Dictionary defines Man-Hug as “a semi-embrace that lasts no more than one second and may be accompanied by a firm slap on the back.”) The two guys have a lot in common: in their lives they have both been bedeviled by the same woman. Hey, it’s my job!

One of the first things I did when I got to the Studio is fill a tiny vase (a child’s teacup) with some little things growing in our garden. It’s my doily mentality that makes me do this, I can’t help it. I thought I would show you just how much of a garden California really is! A little arm-chair travel ~ a lot like traveling to England, only this time, it’s California. Are you ready? Need tea? Go get it, we’ll wait!

So let’s start by getting our bearings. Here we are, on the Central Coast of California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco … on that coastal road called Highway One, or Pacific Coast Highway. Very famous and very beautiful. Joe and I are staying just south of San Luis Obispo, and yesterday we drove up to Morro Bay for lunch. Just above that, you can see Cayucos, and above that, see the white star? That’s where we were going. And P.S., fyi, just above that, see Cambria? Heaven little town you won’t want to miss when and if you go. Lots of antiques there and good milling around town. Then of course, Hearst Castle at San Simeon, is just above that! Across from the entry to Hearst Castle is one of the best beach walks I’ve ever been on. Just follow up that hill you see when you get there, and around to the point. You can’t miss it. It’s almost prehistoric. And one more thing, above that is famous Big Sur. Astoundingly beautiful, but the road is closed now ~ the storms wiped out a bridge, and there’s no way in, except by helicopter!

The drive from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay looks like this (I think most people think of the coast of California as more of a city place, but, as you can see, it’s really not. . .)

If you ever make this trip, you HAVE to stop at the Bayside Cafe in Morro Bay . . .

. . . where you’re surrounded with the fragrance of eucalyptus trees . . . because they are everywhere on the coast here . . . and the smell of the sea . . .

This is the view from our table at Bayside Cafe . . . hence, the name Bayside.

This photo is slightly pink because of the sun through the umbrella over our head, but the food (cheese enchiladas with homemade salsa) is heavenly, and don’t even try to leave there without having their famous Tres Leche Cake (we ate it before I remembered to take a picture, sorry! But it’s a lot like my favorite Hot Milk Cake), a recipe I’ve lusted after for 30 years, but all the begging in the world has not worked with them. Actually, I secretly hate/love them, but will never stop going there and eating that cake. Yum!

Then up the coast we drove . . . Beach Boys, Kokomo on the radio, the perfect musica for this road!

You can see Morro Rock, famous landmark,  situated in the Pacific Ocean in the center of the photo, amongst the artsy highway flora . . .

Here’s a better photo of it. Morro Rock is part of the Nine Sisters, beautiful extinct volcanos that go all the way into SLO.  You can see people walking on the beach down there. You could be one of them if you played your cards right.

Here are some of the famously Happy Cows of California. You can see why!

And here we are, in the parking lot of our destination . . .

Harmony Headlands . . .

And this is us, doing the thing we love the best, on the road less traveled . . .

Off we go, cool breezes off the water blowing . . . slowing down to smell the green things growing . . .

And stepping carefully when encountering some of the lingering effects from the recent wild storms that hit the coast . . .

After maybe a 45 minute walk from the parking lot, we got our first glimpse of the sea . . .

And there it was, off in both directions, the long coastal path . . . you could go forever amongst the wildflowers along the craggy shoreline with the sound the waves and the birds . . .

This little guy followed us for a while, singing his head off (scroll down a bit on my Twitter Page, and hear him singing, and see a video of the coast line) ~ he stood still for a photo, then ran away into the bushes with his girlfriend.

That’s Joe out there, and I’m taking this photo looking in the opposite direction from the first one of the shoreline path, so you can see the drama of the long view . . .

While the waves roll in and the wildflowers bend in the wind . . . By the way, I should say, this is all free. No money changed hands. State Park Property, open to the public. Thank you, California State! You did good! And God! You too! It takes a village!

Getting up close and personal with the wild wood sorrel which grows everywhere on this coastline . . .

and the lupin, too . . .

All so beautiful, and so many different wildflowers . . . look HERE . . .

And they’d only just begun . . . ah spring!Time Out! Celebrate the change of season with a new bookmark from us to you . . . being home with Kellee, we’ve had some fun!

Then it was time to go back . . . one look behind . . .

Past another pair of happy walkers . . . all smiles . . .

I looked down and saw this heart-shaped rock pressed into the path . . . and thought how appropriate it was …

On the way home we stopped in San Luis Obispo at the home of some dear old friends, to catch the perfect sky as the sun began to go down  . . .

The view over the farmlands and vineyards was so pretty, everything so green . . . can you believe this amazing sky? Me either!

They have a hot tub, I believe is called an “infinity” tub, for the obvious reason. Life is berry berry good in San Luis Obispo, California!

What else? Well, Kellee and I have been cleaning out the goat barn here (i.e. the warehouse where we store everything), we found lots of my stuff old enough to be categorized now as “vintage.”  So watch for lots of new/old stuff in the Vintage part of our web store . . . it’s all very one of a kind, last of everything, lots of Christmas stuff (when the time comes). We thought we’d maybe put it on eBay or Etsy, but we thought we better show you first!  Just in cases!

We found a tiny bit of this  . . .

We found a cake plate!

Just one.

And then there’s this: It was a special request from someone at the book signing who said, “Could you please make us a chicken bookmark?” So, Yes, I can! I can’t do everything, but that is something I CAN do! And HERE it is! Just click, print it on card stock, and if you want, get it laminated at Kinko’s or Office Max. Makes a good gift for girlfriends, or stocking stuffer for the chicken people in your life.🐔

In action, it looks like this . . . (and yes, we have a couple of Kitchen Garden books in Vintage, for as long as they last).🌷

And since we were all sold out, and since we loved it so much and heard such good things from our other Girlfriends, we reordered this wonderful book, the New York Times best seller called,  The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh . . .

It’s filled with original illustrations and photos . . .

And delightful history and charm . . .

That everyone is loving . . . 💞 If you haven’t read it yet, I know you will love it.

Okay, let’s see, what else is new around here?

A new book! You might know that sometimes I license my artwork to a company called New Seasons? They make products with my art and this is our new Gratitude Book.

It has a padded cover and it’s embossed . . .

Seventy-five pages filled with my hand-drawn quotes and my art from over the years . . .

A little fun quote book that won’t be around forever, but while it is, we wanted you to know.💙

It looks really pretty with our MOM Book . . .

Where mom’s can give us a lovely bit of lifetime Herstory . . . if you haven’t seen this, it’s also a book from New Seasons ~ a guided book in full color where I asked all kinds of interesting questions about memories of growing up, childhood, school days, romance and having children, and left places for photos. The pages are lined, on nice paper with a ribbon divider. A pretty book, but when it’s all filled in, it becomes a priceless treasure.💞

Well, see what happens when I don’t write often?  I write L  O  N  G !   Sorry . . . this is all because I decided to “catch up!”

One more thing, I got the NICEST letter from a new Girlfriend named Marcy . . . see below . . . I thought you might like to see it . . . it’s her take on Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams … I love how she says she was having tea with Ellie!💞

Off we go, making more memories, we leave on Sunday to go visit my mom and sisters again . . . then back on the train at the end of next week, and home to Martha’s Vineyard for our second spring this year. How Lucky can you Get?  Hope you liked your armchair travel! Enjoy your early spring days darling friends, and thank you for all your wonderful comments. Love visiting with you!

Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams, Letter from Marcy:

Oh my. I wanted to finish the book but, I didn’t want to. While reading it, I was a part of it. I was on Martha’s Vineyard, I was watching you build a home, I was having tea with Ellie, I was scowling at Cliff. I didn’t want it to end. Side note – I’ve ordered the other two books in the series! Anyway, I don’t write letters (ok, type) but, felt the need to let you know I’ve always had your cookbooks and other books (Girlfriends, Baby Love, etc) but, never thought MV was the kind of book I’d enjoy. Whaaat? Stupid me. When I got my last Barnes and Noble 20% off a single item coupon I said, “why not?” And now, your book is my all time favorite book ever! Don’t get too excited, I’m not a huge reader. However, that should tell you I choose my books VERY carefully. Anyway, after all my years of enjoying your art through scrapbooking and cookbooks, I have LOVED reading about how it all came to be. And, I am so happy that I can still be connected to you long after the book is read. I enjoy your newsletter and website very much.

So, thank you for writing and sharing with the rest of us. For pointing out the healing powers of jammies, tea, kitties, old movies, old books, snow storms and sunshine, cozy fires and cozy beds and girlfriends and the right guy. I loved every page, every word, every picture, every quote.

Fondly,
Marcy Brenner

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ROAD TRIP and LUV-LEE GIVEAWAY

MUSICA!  As many of you know, Joe and I are on a five-week road trip!  On February 23 we left Martha’s Vineyard by 8:15 am ferry (our last slightly-foggy view from the boat, above) to go to Boston to catch the train for the cross-country trip (we love to take, and you’ll soon see some of reasons why) out to California to celebrate my mom’s birthday, and to see family and friends. We’ve been driving hill and dale, playing the wonderful MUSICA of Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire, and seat bopping as we go along . . .❤️

Here we are, just starting off on the train, flying across snowy New England in our Room with a View . . . I’m working on my iPhotos (see the photos I took for Marmalade Cake? That recipe is coming up as you scroll down this post!)

As always, we had the most beautiful views, which changed as we moved through the states, and through each day . . . it’s difficult to tear your eyes from the window. Totally mesmerizing as it all goes by . . .

One of my favorite train things are the sunsets and sunrises. All different, depending on what part of the country you’re in, from the snowy pink-lit meadows in the Adirondacks, to the yellowed windswept plains, to the red rocks of New Mexico.

And all of it, while we’re cozy in our room, wearing slippers, wrapped in a shawl. We bring our electric tea kettle so we can make tea in our room . . . I was trying a new tea here that CarrieInOxford🇬🇧 @holywellbnb (on Twitter) gave me . . . but of course I brought along my tin of Fine Romance Tea. Since that book came out, I’m like my kitty, set in my ways, I have my favorite tea every single day. Maybe I will suddenly change someday like he does, but probably not! But, it’s always fun to try something new from a friend!

We went past farms, towns, and the widest open spaces you can imagine . . . with views from backyards and small streets, all the way out to forever . . .

Until we came to Chicago, that toddlin’ town we love SO much. This is truly a wonderful city. People on the streets here smile all the time!! And the food! Yum! We love it that there is usually a 3 to 6 hour layover in Chicago, so over the years we’ve gotten to know it a little bit. The train station is right downtown, we hop into a taxi and go to Michigan Avenue where we are never ever bored! From Boston to Chicago by train is an overnight, just 24 hours.

Then back on a connecting train we go, ever westward . . . This is one of the dining cars where we are served breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all much better tasting than expected! And mealtimes on the train also come with a wonderful view . . .

And after two more, rather-too-short days, we slowly (in a civilized way, no jet engines, no wheel-not-coming-down or any sort of nonsense like that) lumbered into the train station at about 6:30 am on a drizzly, cool Southern California day.  Place of my birth. The palm trees, the smell of wet pavement (not a lot of dirt in the city), all so familiar and wonderful. Alfredo, one of the dear people who work for me (and our friend), brought our good old Toyota to meet us ~ we keep it at the Studio … then he hopped on the train to go back to Arroyo Grande. And we drove over to have breakfast with my mom! Clockwork like buttah.

And there she was. As totally happy as always, both of my parents had or have the happy gene. Never complaining, children of the Great Depression and of WWII, knowing value when they see it, in friends and family, and hard work, always accepting, and always trying their best to do “the right thing.” My mom is losing her memory, but not when it comes to me and Joe or the rest of her children. She knows us, which is such a blessing, and was as happy as we were to be together. We sang together,  Playmate, Come Out and Play with Me, 🎵and some Shirley Temple songs. (Myself, along with my siblings and family friends made her a “This is Your Life” photo album for her 80th birthday, and this photo, above, was part of it. She was only 15 in that picture.) I have to tell you, we are having an absolutely wonderful time. We’ve taken her to a few Dr. appointments, but nothing has been hurried. We had hot fudge sundaes on her birthday, she got lots of phone calls, visitors and cards, and she loved our presents, loved the wrapping paper, loved it all, and especially the plaid cashmere shawl we brought her from Scotland. My mom is in assisted living where she gets care, and meals and so forth. And we are staying nearby, in her old house.

I love staying in the house where she lived for so many years, because it is so “Mom.” Inside every cupboard, including the bathroom, is something she’s taped there, for inspiration, cut from a magazine or newspaper. Ten Best Foods for Energy.  Or Fifteen Ways to Challenge Your Mind.  Or, Five Books you Have To Read. She has notes on her fridge too . . . including this post-it note, written in her own handwriting. She has taken this adage to heart, and never complains. She is all about gratitude. I wob her very much. She turned 87 on February 27.

We visited with my mom for a few days, then we drove over to Palm Desert (73 degrees, soft breeze) to see my sisters, Mary and Shelly and Shelly’s twins. We had dinner with them, took the boys bowling, had a wonderful time! The twins are almost 14 now!  (Time! I am not thrilled with you! You are going too fast!)

Exhausting little moments, the next day we drove to Arizona to visit my Dad’s darling wife Jeanie,  to check on her and make sure that she and her sister, who lives with her, are okay. And they are, we spent all day yesterday catching up on missing hugs … and today we will go visit my dad’s grave. I’ve never seen Arizona so green, have you? When we are here, it’s usually pure, never-ending desert beige, but this time it’s beautiful, there are wildflowers everywhere, and the hillsides are dotted with friendly, waving, welcoming, cacti!

And, just because we’re traveling, does not mean the domestic things come to a halt. We just found a brand new use for the luggage rack in our motel room! Did laundry this morning, and now drying our precious socks (not in the machine, heaven forbid, we want them to last forever!)

So that about covers the today-ness of what’s going on. Now, for what you are all so patiently waiting for . . . Which comes from me to you

It’s time to announce the winners of our three brand new bone china cups! I am so happy we decided to put them up for presale, because if we had just waited until they arrived, we would have been sold out in the first week. 😢 Would have been sad.  Now we can add a few more to our order, and everyone will get one on the first go-round!!! Thank you! I am so glad you liked them. I really can’t wait till they arrive. BUT, until then, three of our darling Girlfriends will be lucky winners of these freebies right now.  Let me get Vanna . . . she’s sleeping in the car. She said she would rather sleep in the car than in a room where she would have to look at SOCKS drying on a luggage rack. To quote her, “Gross.” The princess doesn’t like our socks.  So she has her pillow with the hot pink silk case on it (to keep her hair smooth), and two of my Grandma’s nap blankets, and she is happy as a clam, and quiet as one too, as long as we keep her drugged and asleep. (Do you sometimes wonder if I am actually as totally normal as I tout to you sometimes? Me too. That’s why I have to keep saying it … and include YOU . . .)

Anyway, HERE WE GO.  Our first WINNER ~ for In Love With Nature a 16 oz., bone-china, “Made in England,” thin-lipped cup from heaven IS:

J O A N   H A G Y

SO HAPPY for you, Joan!!!

And, I looked and did find a photo of the BACK . . . so this is the back of In Love With Nature. I tried to make it utterly enchanting.💞

I did not have the picture of the FRONT of the Love Cup . . . this is the only one I can find, and it’s of the BACK . . . but all the art, on both sides, is different, it’s not just repeated.  I’ll take another photo of the other side to show you when I get back to the Island!  And so, here we go:  the WINNER of the LOVE Cup, another 16 oz., bone-china, “Made in England,” thin-lipped cup from heaven IS

C O N I   O S B O R N

CONGRATULATIONS. LUCKY CONI!!!

AND, last but not least,  the WINNER of the LITTLE THINGS cup ~ one more 16 oz., bone-china, “Made in England,” thin-lipped cup, ALSO from heaven IS

C H R I S   W E L L S 

Another Red Letter Day for Chris!

And yes, I did take a photo of the back of this one . . .  Congratulations one and all . . . here’s a little round of applause!BUT, because I love you ALL, and because it’s just not fair that out of over 2,700 comments, there can only be three winners 😩 . . . I still have one more . . .

Tea Tins! I asked Vanna, because she was still sort of deliciously delirious and very malleable (relatively), if she could please pull three MORE names . . . which she did. And SO, Girlfriends REBECCA SULCER, PAULETTE GRIMSBO, and PAT ADDISON (in Cave Junction) will each be receiving one of my Tea Tins, plus a bag of whichever kind of tea she would most like to have ~ right away. I’ll be sending emails to each of our six winners today, to tell them that they won, and to ask for addresses for when the cups arrive (we are shooting for pre Mother’s Day, timing-wise, but please don’t hold me to it!), and also, addresses for the Tea Tins, which will be sent to the LUCKY winners immediately.💞

Our private blends of tea are the prettiest, freshest, and most flavorful if I do say so myself, since I’m the one that gets to choose the ingredients for each of them! And we also carry those little round wire balls you can fill with the loose tea and set into your cup or teapot to steep if you need one.

I have one more great idea for a “sweetener for tea” (besides love and scandal ~~ How Downton Abbey!). . .  the recipe for Orange Marmalade Cake! Making this cake, I hope, will make everyone feel like the winner that you actually already ARE!

I’ll put the full recipe at the bottom, so you can print it out. Don’t worry about amounts here, this is just for the basic How To. First you start with a jar of thick-cut orange Marmalade. Luckily we had brought this home from England with us . . . and it was perfect. But you can get the good stuff in any grocery store.

It should be full of rough-cut orange-peel. This is also fabulous on buttered toast, btw. And as many of you know, it makes a delicious jam mixed with my Cranberry Sauce. I know, I digress, but I can’t help it . . . no matter the season, when I think of this easy recipe, my mouth begins to water, and I have to give it!

ORANGE MARMALADE AND CRANBERRY SAUCE JAM
3 c. fresh, washed, cranberries
1 c. sugar
(That’s 3 parts cranberries (frozen are fine) to one part sugar (this recipe serves six, you don’t have to make that much if you don’t need it). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the cranberries into an ungreased casserole and pour the sugar over, don’t stir. Put into oven, stirring occasionally as they cook, until the berries just begin to pop, about 35 min. Remove from oven, serve hot or cold with chicken dinners, or even with chocolate cake.  Mix the leftover cranberrie sauce half and half with pre-made orange marmalade, pour into jars . . .  delicious on scones, toast, Boston Brown Bread, and biscuits, and wonderful as a tea-time gift for your friends.❤️

Okay, back to the cake . . .

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter a loaf pan. Into a med-sized mixing bowl, pour ¾ c. granulated sugar over a stick and a half of room temperature unsalted butter.

Use your nifty microplane zester (or grater) to take the zest from one lime . . . add it to the bowl along with . . .

The zest of a half of an orange.

Pull out your trusty hand mixer, and cream everything together, for maybe five minutes, scraping down the bowl every so often …

Until the batter is light and fluffy and speckled with colorful citrus peel . . .

Beat in three large room-temperature eggs, one at a time,

Then add  ⅓c. marmalade, and 2 TB. fresh orange juice from the zested orange . . .

In another bowl, whisk together 1 ½ c. unsifted flour (stir lightly with fork before measuring), 1 ½ tsp. baking powder, and ¾ tsp. salt.

With a spatula, fold dry ingredients into batter until just combined . . .

Put the batter into the buttered loaf pan and into the oven for about 50 min . . .

. . . until lightly brown and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and set the cake upright on a wire rack to cool ten minutes. (Put the rack on a cookie sheet so when you spoon on the glaze (below), the pan will catch the drips).

Make the Marmalade Glaze as the cake bakes . . .  Put ⅓c. marmalade into a small saucepan over low heat until melted; stir in ¼ c. powdered sugar, and 1 TB. butter until melted.

Spoon warm glaze over slightly-cooled cake and let some drizzle down the sides. Cool completely (if you can) before slicing.

And voila! Zee Marmalade Cake in all her glory. Good enough, I daresay, for Vanna!

I cut mine in half and took part to my next-door girlfriend Lowely.

And that’s it, all that’s left is to do the dishes . . . so easy!

And so, another blog post is coming to an end. I have just a couple more things to show you before I get into the car and resume normal programming with the ever-patient man of my dreams. First off, there is a very famous portrait artist by the name of Sue Shanahan who also, in her spare time, writes for the Huffington Post. (Leave a comment, and make Sue’s day!) She did this painting of me and Jack as a surprise, and sent it to me a couple of days ago. I’m never wild about having my picture taken, but I think she did a wonderful job, catching me on one of my “better” days (actually, not catching me, but “giving” me one of my better days! Jack, as always, is perfect!). Sue interviewed me before we went away to England last year, but I forgot all about it, and suddenly, she sent me this with a link to her post . . . which I wanted to send to you. Go to Sue’s blog to see more of her art and if you enjoy reading her inspirational take on life, you’ll find a link there to sign up for her email list. 💞

And speaking of Jack, it’s check in time! Barbara, Jack’s other kitty mommy, is home with him and phoned in this photo . . . he looks pretty well-loved to me! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him quite this relaxed!

Last but not least, our Twitter Girlfriend, Karen @ksettel, cut this from the February page of her wall-calendar, and hung it on her wall for a reminder, then she put a picture of it on Twitter and said hello to me!  I’m putting it here, hoping all of you have only Red Letter Days! Your 2700+ wonderful comments were, each and every one, amazing, sweet, loving, funny, happy, Everything! ❤️ Thank you for being here! See you soon!

M A R M A L A D E    C A K E

  • 1 ½ sticks butter (¾c.), room temp.
  • ¾c. granulated sugar
  • zest of one lime
  • zest of ½ orange
  • 3 lg. eggs, room temp.
  • ⅓ c. rough-cut orange marmalade (and another ⅓ c. below, for Glaze)
  • 2 TB. fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour, fluff with fork before measuring
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer (hand or otherwise), about 5 min, until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl periodically.  Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in  ⅓c. marmalade and the orange juice.  In another bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Fold them gently into the batter until just combined. Put batter into loaf pan and bake 50 min. until golden brown ~ knife into center of cake should come out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 min. Put a wire rack on a cookie sheet. Turn cake out of pan and place it on rack right-side- up. While cooling, prepare Glaze:

In small saucepan, heat together until melted: ⅓c. marmalade, 1 Tb. butter, ¼c. powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake, allowing Glaze to drizzle down sides. Cool completely before serving.💛

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