I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

From Salad to Mushrooms and Back Again!!

My mother in law's old green wheel barrow was taking up too much real estate in the garage. Plus, its flat tire made it a behemoth to move around....so when I saw these wooden salad bowls at the thrift store...I had a vision...of a little herb garden. It would be tended by gnomes, with a little help from me. I could have all kinds of herbs for our summer salads!  Here go the steps:

Kilz the bowls and spray both inside and out with
gloss paint.
I used Rustoleum 2X coverage...in RED.

Handy Hubby cut some oak branches and screwed the
mushroom tops into the branches. I only have
$3 invested in the salad bowls, so if they don't
last for years and years...that's quite ok.

Up close....now play around with the placement.
(I painted the barrow, Lagoon, also Rustoleum,
and drilled holes in the bottom of the barrow
for drainage. I covered the holes with pottery
shards to help with drainage.)
Dirt and potting soil were then added.

Make sure you really firm up the dirt around
your mushrooms.
Plantings were mostly Italian type herbs.
I added some flowers and lavender and
an assorted gnomes and a little bird.

Promptly at 6:30 the next a.m., I, in my pj's
and robe, attached vinyl dots.

All that's left is to add mulch and a few
pots of flowers around the bottom to
hide that flat tire!

While on a mushroom roll, I decided to take
a broken planter and an unused birdbath bottom
 to make a larger mushroom...someone said
"a fire hydrant!"...haha

This morning promptly at 7:00 a.m. I filled my
coffee cup and went out to survey. The mulch
really looks nice. I would show you how nice
but I am having trouble adding new pictures..
so just take my word for it, it's cute!

Hope you are having a productive, peaceful day!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Over the River and Through the Woods....

Thanksgiving's on its way!! I have always had the most difficult time making dressing (southern for "stuffing".) Once we threw it out to the birds and they flew away...so when I found this recipe for Crock Pot Chicken and Dressing, I thought, "Why not?" I am SO glad I tried it...it's not the usual throw everything into the slow cooker and walk away. The prep time is longer, but it's worth it...this is THE BEST DRESSING ever! I found this recipe here:  http://www.mommyskitchen.net/2012/10/crock-pot-chicken-dressing-happy.html
I must say, her blog on this was much prettier than mine! I am still getting used to Windows 8 and a new laptop. Either way, you will enjoy this recipe. I promise.

Read recipe all the way through before attempting. Here are the ingredients and instructions.

                             Bake 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts for about  40-45 minutes
                                                                     @ 375 degrees.
                                     (The recipe called for 5 but my family doesn't like that
                                                                     much chicken.)
                                                     Reserve broth from baked chicken.

Chop 2 stalks celery and 1 small onion
 (This is to be added to cornbread mixture below)

1-2 t. sage, 1 t. salt, 1-2 t. poultry seasoning,
and 1 t. pepper.
Add to cornbread mixture below.

Make two cornbreads from 2 packages of mix or use your own recipe.
 I used corn BREAD mix...NOT muffin mix!
(Muffin mix is sweet.)
Toast a hamburger bun or two pieces of bread.

Crumble and combine cornbread and 1 toasted hamburger bun
or 2 pieces of toasted bread.
Add spices.

Boil two eggs, peel and chop. Add to cornbread mix.

At this point, add one can of Cream of Chicken soup,
two cans of chicken broth and any chicken broth from the cooked
chicken breasts to the cornbread/bread mixture.
I used my Kitchenaid mixer to gently combine the mixture.

Melt one stick of butter.

Shred chicken breasts and get ready to add to cornbread mixture.
Add shredded chicken and melted butter to cornbread mixture.

Tip: I shred my chicken while it's warm with the mixer.
Add shredded chicken (after the butter) to the cornbread

Tip: Melt butter in small bowl in microwave.

Tip: I have discovered Reynolds Slow Cooker liners!!
Greatest invention EVER! Add liner to Crock Pot.

Set on high for 4 hours.
Add 1/2 can of second can of Cream of Mushroom soup to bottom of liner.
Spread around the bottom.
Add all mixed ingredients to Crock Pot
 and  add the other 1/2 of the soup to the top.
The original recipe called for layering.
I did NOT do this, but feel free to.
I like the chicken throughout the dressing.

Tip: I keep a colander in the sink and put all egg shells,
cans, paper, etc. in it. At the end of the process,
I just toss everything into the trash can.

At the end of three and a half hours, check the dressing.
Mine began to cook too much around the edges.
After all, the ingredients were all cooked before they
went into the pot.

The dressing was moist, the chicken was tender and it was seasoned
just right!! My only question is, could we leave out the chicken
and just have plain dressing? I think so!!
PLUS: My husband LOVED it!!
After 36 years of trying, I did it!!

Let me know what you think!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hello and happy summer (almost)!
So much has been going on here.
My husband has retired after 42 years of work
and we are adjusting to that.
So many tasks to do that have been set aside until
"One Day"...
One day has finally arrived!

My June 2014 Better Homes and Gardens
magazine arrived last week.
I was so busy that I tossed it into the
"One Day" pile and forgot about it
until today.
On a quick drive out of town to see #1 Little Sister
and family today, I grabbed the mag to read.
May I say that it was the best issue I have read in a great while.
So many beautiful pages...
filled with all sorts of sensible, affordable information.
I have changed my opinion...I used to think of
BH G's as a "granny" magazine...
not any more!

This month was the announcement of the BHG Blogger Award Winners!
They awarded two awards for each category...one was for Readers' Choice
and the other was for Editors' Choice.
I couldn't wait to go through and visit the sites.
Here were a few of my favorites.
(I am a very, very minor league blogger...these gals are Major Leaguers!)
Visit them when you can...you won't be disappointed.
 I really loved some of the colors and furniture choices in this blog.
Good before and after shots.
 This blog's author is funny and while some of her DIY projects are
a little more modern than my traditional tastes, many of you
will love them.
 Anything with the word Nest in it catches my eye.
Great eclectic projects. You will want to browse all night.
Wish I had seen this blog a long while ago. If you like to entertain,
this one is for you!
Try these out and let me know what you think.
Get a copy of the June BH&G!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Look At Home

This week, two incidents have given me pause to examine some feelings. First, I have reconnected with some old friends from Grenada over the past few months and have enjoyed exchanging pictures of days gone by with them. Second, I received a decorating book that I ordered with the recommendation of another blogger. I knew I was wrong when I ordered the darn thing...too many pages were filled with things I could never have. I once had a pastor who said he threw away all the catalogs that came to his house. That they just set in motion a yearning for more and more things. How true.

As I mentally put the book aside, (still in my pajamas) I grabbed my camera and out the door I went.
I quietly absorbed the country stillness, the birds at the feeder, the gentleness of the breeze. I photographed "our land" from different angles.

This photo is the road "home". Every time I turn onto it, I feel a peace come over me. It's not grand...just a country road, but it signals that I can leave turmoil behind, if only for a while.

When I sit on my back porch, these pastures are my breathing space. Nothing fancy, just a few horses and some donkeys, a few rolling hills. But when I hear the hooves beat, and see them gallop toward their feeding area at dusk, it just can't be beat.
I enjoy sitting on my back porch when it rains and watching my rain chain flow.
 My birds that come to my feeders never disappoint me.
...and those that choose to nest with us every year are like loyal friends.
My friends are a lot like my favorite birds...there's the chickadee who always flits around, is friendly, kind,  shares with others and ALWAYS gives me birdseed as one of my Christmas presents! There are two cardinal friends. They are loyal, always present, and bring beauty and calm whenever they are around. Then there's my mockingbird. She is not afraid to tell me the unvarnished truth...she frequently states, "Stop the Madness!" and pulls me back when I overdo (..she also eats Mexican with me because my husband won't!) Now that's true friendship. My bluebird friend and I can be away from each other for many weeks, but when we get together, we pick right back up where we left off.
Below is my feeble attempt at gardening. I bought the tomato plant that was the largest and already had a tomato on it....lol.  My flowers really show off sometime and wither hideously other times. But I don't give up...every year I make space for some sunny little faces that give me immense pleasure when they decide to cooperate!

My point in this diatribe is that I really cherish my family, friends (both old and new)  and surroundings. I am satisfied..(if I had a workroom and a dining room, I'd be 100% satisfied). I don't love "things" like I used to. Instead, I love people and places that give me fond memories. I would rather somebody else be pleased or delighted than experience those feelings myself. No, I am trying to send out a "humble pie" vibe. It's just the plain truth.

I don't have to have a showroom house, inside or out. I used to think I did but not anymore. I consciously choose a home with integrity...furnishings with comfort...objects that have sweet memories and people with character and loyalty over showroom any day!

Blessings to each of you,


Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Renewal of Hope

After living in the hot, humid South for over six decades, I have decided my preference (in order) for the four  seasons:
#4...SUMMER (too hot, too much daylight, too much humidity, and did I mention, Too HOT?)

#3...WINTER (I used to LOVE winter until my joints made it perfectly clear that they did NOT.
However, I do love the starkness of the landscape and the flash of red as the Cardinals feed at the bird feeders. We even had snow this year, which made for a gorgeous Spring. And fires in the fireplace....nothing better!)

#2...SPRING (I will discuss below.)

#1...AUTUMN (The colors make my heart pound! As some of you know, I have NO favorite color..
I love them all. That's why it's so hard to make decorating choices for me...I am pretty easy to please..at least for a while.)

Why has Spring displaced Winter as #2 on my "Ordered Favorite Season " you ask?
I always "liked" her...but she was like the "boy next door"...I never really and truly saw her. She was always there, quiet and delicate, but she didn't knock my socks off. Once I noticed, I fell in love.

There's something particularly endearing about the fragility of Spring. Those first few weeks when that lovely light green fluff begins to emerge from the cold, wet earth. The one little sprout, then another and then a glorious bud. The sunlight filtering through the newly budded leaves on the trees is something to behold. Spring is the season of hope renewed.

No words can adequately describe the beauty of God's creation. He provided just what we fickle humans needed...He knew that we couldn't stand the color riot of Autumn year 'round. Why we'd certainly begin to ignore all that flashy color. He was keenly aware that we would be depressed and lifeless if all our days were spent in the cold. Short on daylight we would be short on thanksgiving. Summer, the eternal vacation days of youth, would only be wasted on the young.

Now, Spring is vying for first place with Autumn in my heart. After losing both my parents, I have come to the realization that my seasons here on earth are also numbered. That reality is slowly sinking in. Oh, I've heard the new "mantra"... 50 is the new 30. So 60 must be the new 40. The problem with that way of thinking is that it gives the illusion that we will never age. We will be forever young in mind and body. And that's just not true. You can Botox and Lifestyle Lift  all day long, but the reality is every day that passes pushes you closer to your eternal destiny.

How sad that it has taken me this long to learn life's lesson. We aren't guaranteed another "season". We must seize the day. What a life we would live if we used our allotted minutes to do that which we were placed here to do! Each of us has a particular purpose given to us by the Creator. How wonderful it would be if we didn't rail against our "lot" in life and if we just determined that purpose and set our eyes on "the prize" and pushed forward toward accomplishing His desire for us.

Jesus did that. That is what Easter is all about.

 Jesus accomplished the purpose set forth by the Father.
He came as a man, He lived, died and rose again. He did His Father's will. And He did it for us. Without His determination to do His Father's will, we would have no hope...no promise of Spring.
Think on these things...time's a'tickin'.

Blessings on this Easter day,