Wednesday, April 30, 2014


One person CAN make a difference in this world. Darcy Creech, a remarkable woman, believes philanthropy is a "lifestyle"

I first discovered Darcy Creech when I went looking for a hat. I fell in love with her store, Peter Beaton, and the story behind it. Then I noticed on her website that there were some philanthropic adventures and that made me curious. I did a little digging and "chapter two" of her life is equally as fascinating as the first.

When newly divorced Darcy, and her two year old son Peter moved to Nantucket and opened a hat shop, the budding success she had already been experiencing ballooned. She was the "toast of the town."

Once destitute, she now was more than solvent. She married again and gave birth to a second son. When that marriage failed she began a whirlwind social life, trying to fill the whole inside herself that was formed by two failed marriages and an abusive childhood.

In her own words... “Everyone thought I was living the dream, but I was so empty inside. My life was a great big party. Everyone envied me. I had celebrity clients, a beautiful house, beautiful children, party invitations, and the attention of men." 

"But I had no joy.”

“I tried to anesthetize myself with another season of parties. One summer night, after coming home from a fundraiser, I sat on the staircase in my floor-length dress and wept.”

“I thought, I’m either going to kill myself, or I’m going to surrender my life to God.”
Surrender she did. 

She continues...

"I’d always been interested in philanthropy, but I thought I had to make a bazillion dollars before I could do it. But $38 a month?  I can do this. I can catapult someone out of poverty"

She became sponsor to two children, Patrick in Kenya and Witness in Tanzania. In January 2011, she traveled to Tanzania to see life there firsthand.

On her trip she discovered that people in the village walk 2.4 miles everyday to get water from a swamp.  Water that makes them sick. 

Upon her return she attended a world crisis conference and learned that all the worlds water problems could be solved with  $20 billion, less than half of the $50 billion Americans spend shopping on "Black Friday"

Very familiar with consumerism, she went to work developing products. Her first item, a watch priced at $500.00 garnered  $44,000. in 30 days. 

100% of the money went to building water wells in Tanzania where contaminated water is killing 5000 children a day. Her efforts are ongoing with her foundation Hydrex Philanthropy. 

Darcy Creech is a truly remarkable 
woman of a certain age.

“I get more back by giving than my sponsored kids could ever imagine. Giving is not a one-time thing, it’s a lifestyle,”

Want to help change the world? visit... 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


As the librarian in a large charter school I am constantly putting on programs to try and promote reading and draw families into the library. We have had some fun times with "Spooky Night" "Mystery Night" and "Evening at Hogwarts"  It's been seven years and the list is pretty long.

One program all of the girls love is the "American Girl Book Club"  The dolls are wonderful of course but the books and the history make the whole experience come to life.  This year we tweaked it a little and made it...

 "The American Girl Cook Book Club"

I had our logo printed on little aprons for the girls to wear... they were so excited!

So this afternoon we are cooking with Kit, an American Girl from 1934, right smack dab in the middle of the depression. As I began to study and prepare a presentation I was completely in awe of how resourceful people were and especially women.

When it came to planning meals, there was not always an abundance of food. Instead, they worked on their presentation.

A plain old sandwich was cut into triangles, often open faced and always with a little garnish like an olive slice or sprig of parsley. Sometimes they used two kinds of bread to make it look like a checkerboard. They ate interesting sandwiches... cucumber, cheese and pickle or egg salad. Everyone grew a garden and the lucky ones kept chickens. Then I discovered the recipe for...

"Ritz Cracker Mock Apple Pie" 

Because apples were rarely available, women substituted Ritz Crackers and produced a pie they swore tasted like the real thing. I remember as a child in the 60s my mother's friend made one of these but I refused to taste it.

I was up very late last night making four of them and wondering if I was crazy. Was this really going to taste like apple pie?

The answer is ...........YES   I'm sure a true "foodie" would turn up their nose but this taste pretty darn close to the real thing. So I thought I would pass along the recipe. Try it and see what you think.

Pastry for 2-crust 9" pie

36 Ritz Crackers, coarsely broken (about 1 3/4 cups)

2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 3/4 cups water
2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees
ROLL out half of the pastry and line a 9" pie pan. Place the broken cracker crumbs in the crust and set aside.

MIX - sugar and cream of tarter in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in 1 3/4 cups of water

BRING this mixture to a boil. Reduce head and simmer for 15 minutes.

ADD lemon juice and cool.

POUR syrup over the cracker crumbs, dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

TOP with the second pastry and flute the edges. Make sure to slit the top of pastry to allow the steam to escape.

BAKE for 30 minutes or until the crust is crisp and golden. 

 I think it needs a big scoop of ice cream... yum!

Monday, April 28, 2014


I LOVE dishes. Its not a hobby its a passion. I rotate the table settings in my dining room monthly and when I pass by I smile. It just makes me happy to see a pretty table.      
This amazing hutch is from Nancy's Daily Dish. (see her address above the photo) I gasped when I first saw this picture. It is so similar to my mothers hutch and pink dishes that for a minute I thought it was. 

Here is a sample of two of my favorite patterns. I acquired them 24 years ago in a darling little out of the way shop. I didn't have enough money to purchase them but the proprietor offered to put them on lay-a-way. I couldn't resist. 
With each payment my anticipation grew. As a surprise, my father and my oldest son, then 14, brought them home for my birthday. I was thrilled. I have used them many times and I find it satisfying and almost therapeutic to fill the sink with hot sudsy water and wash them by hand.  

I blame my mother for this "gene" and I in turn passed it to my youngest daughter.  Food just tastes better on PRETTY DISHES!
This is a wonderful "tablescape" from Stone Gable. She has an amazing blog... check it out


“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” 
Henry David Thoreau

Over the past seven years I have spent a considerable amount of time alone. My children have flown and my husband departed. This was new territory. I panicked at first, checking the locked doors multiple times and talking to my kids on the phone when there really wasn't anything to say. Eventually I settled in. I let go of the embarrassment that divorce brings, the feelings of failure and the endless looking back. Then one day I ran across a little book in a used bookstore. The title said,

It immediately became my mantra! I would go forward, I would break new trails. I felt a twinge of excitement.

My "aloneness" afforded me opportunities to see myself more clearly. I was no longer a wife or a mom with a mini van full of kids. There was a "new me"  inside somewhere. I had to decide... would the world break me or would I get strong? 

I started by doing the unthinkable...I went to "lunch" alone. Filling my plate at the salad bar in Jason's Deli, I tried to look nonchalant, and maybe a little mysteries. Inside I was horrified. I didn't want people to stare at me and think ..."Look at that lady, she's all alone, poor thing."
I picked a table and quietly began to eat, checking my phone multiple times so as to appear that at least I had contacts in the world. To my surprise no one was even looking at me. They were busy eating. I wasn't a spectacle, I was just a person who was hungry who had stopped to grab some lunch.

Next I took myself to the movies. That was fun. I bought a "kid size" popcorn and a big butterfinger and enjoyed the movie without someone talking in my ear. Hey... I was liking this. My journey continued as I navigated my way single handed through "check in" at the airport... that was hard, and as I learned that attending a social event "single" just required a smile and a willingness to reach out. I gained a sense of real autonomy. I was steering my own boat, course correcting along the way. 

As time passed I settled even more. Although there are plenty of moments in my life when family and friends are paramount, I have come to enjoy and value my solitude... quiet moments when I can reflect and sort things out.

I have had non-stop company for two months. It's always fun to fill the house with people and noise. Good conversation by the fire is my favorite way to spend an evening. When at last the clutter has been cleared and I've waved the last good-bye and hollered the last, "I love you" I shut the door and listen... its quiet!

In the solitude I meet myself again... and I'm great company.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


double click on the image to enlarge the screen

Happy and Blessed Sunday

Friday, April 25, 2014

Darcy Creech owner

I've been snooping around for years, trying to find a summer hat that I will look good in. I discovered this darling shop on Nantucket. They are custom so I'm hoping they have one big enough for my head.  Now which one shall I buy?

Peter Beaton got its start in 1989 when Darcy Creech wore a brimmed hat decorated with flowers to a party. Not only did she receive multiple compliments but people wanted one just like it. Completely inexperienced, her aunt told her about trade shows. There, the tradesmen connected her with the straw importers and they helped her locate her first hat blocker. Soon she was making hats for re-sale in department stores. She sent one to Hillary Clinton as a gift and to her surprise she was asked to make her a hat for the inauguration.

Six years later, while she and her seven year old son were visiting Nantucket, he suggested they move to the island. She packed up her life in Connecticut and did just that, opening her store and naming the business after him.

"Peter Beaton"

This is the handsome fellow for whom the store is named

Within four years Darcy had taken her passion and created a successful business, opening her doors in the Spring of 1996.

Because they design and make their own hats they promise...
Darcy Creech

"When you come to the store you are getting a personalized
experience, as each hat is custom fitted and custom trimmed, and comes in its own signature hat box to carry it in."


I love the label on their rain boots...

"Leave a trail worth following"

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The village and the model

Nestled in Gloucestershire, England is the small village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Its built along a slow moving river and is known for its outstanding natural beauty, drawing thousands of tourist each year.

In the mid 1930s five craftsmen began construction on a model that would replicate the village It was produced in a one-ninth scale and depicts the heart of the beautiful Cotswold area. This perfect reproduction took five years in the making and was opened for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937

The model sits by the running River Windrush as does the real village and includes the stone bridges for which Bourton is famous. 

Of special interest are the replicas of the two churches. They are accurate in every detail and if you get close you can hear music.

The model village is famous for their bonsai trees but recently they have added miniature deciduous and evergreen trees. 

As one who loves both architecture and miniatures, this was a delightful find. I swore I would never fly over the Atlantic Ocean again but I just might change my mind.  This I want to see in person!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


My youngest son is graduating with his Bachelors and his Master from
Brigham Young University
BYU Library

It's been five years of school with an LDS mission to the Philippines tucked in the middle, along with the marriage to his sweetheart and the birth of their first child. He's worked almost full time, used multiple scholarships, completed an internship with Microsoft and maintained a 3.90 GPA.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014


The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's Heart in a garden,
Than anywhere else on earth
Dorothy Frances Blomfield Gurney

Frances Gurney was born October 4, 1858 outside London to parents who were both Anglican priests. When she married, she and her husband converted to Catholicism. 

Deeply religious, she spent her life writing poetry and hymns. Her best known poem (above) is entitled "God's Garden." It was inspired by Lord Ronald Gower's exquisite garden at Hammerfield Penshurst. 

A handwritten copy of her poem (circa 1925) was discovered in a book on the Church of England's Liberal Evangelicals in 2010. These little lines have been copied, engraved and written on walls in gardens all over the world. 


I am looking forward to my annual "family yard work day" when all my children and grandchildren come to help. I just can't do it myself anymore. We will be planting some flowering cherry trees, some Oklahoma Redbuds and hopefully getting the veggies in the ground. It is such a reality check to grow your own food.  I love it!

Even as I'm typing, there is a pretty big storm howling outside and the heater just kicked on. Spring is so unpredictable!

Monday, April 21, 2014


I love this border print dress from Nordstrom. I would pair it with a light weight 3/4 sleeve black jacket and it would be perfect for summer. 


Found this gorgeous skirt at Dillards. Keep it dressy with a soft orange underpinning and a well tailored jacket in beige. Throw in some gold bling and WOW! 

I see she's wearing her "kate" pumps. 


Also from Dillards, a perfect cool sleeveless blouse or underpinning. Wear it with white pants or your favorite pair of dark wash jeans. DILLARDS.COM

It's getting warmer... a reason to shop!


FOOD is a very controversial subject. We can't live without it but pretty much it is killing us. Getting older has its perks but physically, I would say its all down hill.  I heard about this diet that made a lot of sense to me. It's not about weight loss, its about helping your body to feel better.

Step 1 - Eliminate ALL these food items for three weeks.  I know, you just might starve to death but try it anyway.

SUGAR - this is a "no-brainer"... its lethal!
WHEAT - this is the "biggie"
DAIRY - that yogurt you're eating might not really be helping
CORN - read your labels, corn syrup is in everything

roasted tomatoes
Step 2 - After the three weeks, add one thing back at a time. If you don't experience any adverse symptoms you get to keep it in your diet.   That's pretty simple. Basically you are looking for food allergies and sensitivities.                                                                 
  cauliflower soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             This begs the question... what can you eat? Lots of fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, rice and rice products (there are some really good rice crackers out there) quinoa or lentils. Check out your local health food store, they can help you find items without wheat or gluten.  
My daughter in law makes a berry smoothie with a handful of kale and spinach.  It is yummy!  I have also found some really good recipes by doing a search on pinterest.

There are many kinds of flours for baking but to make this work I would just keep it "simple" for the first three weeks. If you do turn out to be gluten intolerant there is a fabulous cookbook called AGAINST ALL GRAIN!  
This is the "bible" for anyone who struggles with wheat.

Here's to an interesting week of eating and not eating... good luck! (I'm going to need it.)

Saturday, April 19, 2014


When the crocus pop their little heads out of the nearly frozen ground it is the first sign of Spring. What a thrill to see the world awakening and to have hope for sunnier skies and better days. How appropriate that is when we consider the real reason we celebrate Easter.

The savior of the world, even Jesus Christ, brings the ultimate hope for our lives and gives all of us "second chances."  Because of Him we can forgive each other and try again, we can look forward to being re-united with our departed loved ones and we can feel the "peace" that only his love brings.

I am just a tiny speck in this vast universe and so are you, but somehow we matter enough that he sacrificed all for us. As I look forward this Spring I intend to be a little kinder, a little softer and to love my fellow man more fully.


"Even the slightest blade of grass bears witness that there is no death."   Walt Whitman