Saturday, April 30, 2016

Faking Cronuts

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am the self proclaimed Doughnut 👑 Queen. Although technically a purist, (glazed, plain, powdered, sugared), I will have to say I have never met a doughnut I didn't like. 
It has been years since I have made cheater doughnuts. When I did, I usually made them from Pillsbury Grands Buttermilk Biscuits. 
I've been pinning too many donut recipes on Pinterest lately and that got me thinking about my newer obsession - Cronuts. Since Cronuts are a cross between Croissants and doughnuts - and layers are the key - then how would the flaky layers Pillsbury Grands work? 
It would also figure - just like in the oven - a hot, quick rise would do them best. I used a tiny biscuit cutter to cut the holes, and then plopped the doughnut into the hot oil. 
Drain them on paper towels after you pull them out of the hot oil. Then dip them into a cinnamon and sugar mixture or glaze that you have made from milk and confectioners sugar. 
I glazed the 'Cronuts' and cinnamon sugared the holes. Bob ate two of the Cronuts before I got a chance to snap the picture!

So - how did they fare? Not too bad! They definitely don't match up to a doughnut shop's Cronut, but for an early Saturday morning treat, they were pretty darn good!

Until later, xo, Liz
The Doughnut 👑 Queen

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Garden gets a Makeover

Fifteen years ago two other women and myself created an LLC and started a Gardening Magazine. We knew that we could not do the hard, physical labor of planting gardens late into our lives. We wanted something else that would potentially take us into old age  and we came up with the idea of a high end gardening magazine. The covers would be color, and made of heavy stock, the interior pages would also be of heavier paper stock than many magazines. The articles would be in depth, varied, and include photographs and illustrations.
I was in charge Advertising. It was my job to cold call anyone that I thought would be interested in putting an ad in the magazine. A pretty tough job. How would you like to throw money away at a fledgling magazine? However, I did make it happen. Not only for the first - but managed to get people to re-up for the second issue as well! Somewhere in between the second and third issues, I was told I wasn't 'holding up my end of the bargain' and was 'fired'. I'm still not sure what happened - but this really isn't where I was going with this story...

The above is an article Ginna wrote (with my help) when she was 8. I built this garden for her when she was 6. At that time she wanted to do anything I was doing. I had been obsessed with gardening since the death of my second daughter, Callie in 1996. At the time, gardening somehow connected me with the earth - and kept me from falling off into outer space.

Ginna selected all of the plants for her garden - we arranged them, put them in and watered. Ginna loved the paths, the flowers, and watering her garden, but didn't care so much for the, bugs,  weeding and the upkeep. 
I kept it up for many years, then let it go. Some of the plants were still there - one - the garlic chives, had done a swell job of taking over - including tearing up some of the brick path. 
17 years later - I need a place to seriously grow some lavender. My lavender wands have been selling like crazy at the Corner Store in Waterford, VA - and I need a ready supply of lavender stems! This area seems to be the perfect place to plant herbs. It is sunny all day and well drained. I started the clearing a week or so ago - and then Bob gave me the big push today. When it comes to gardens - we work together like a well oiled machine. It is wondrous. 

Today we rediscovered the path, Bob cleared away much of the garlic chives (the thugs!), I reset the brick edge between the lavender plants and the brick walk. Bob dug the holes for the lavender, I planted them Bob set the large stone at the head of the path, and put the beginnings of the mulch down.  Now I need to go out and buy some more herbs for this newly redone garden! A final photo will follow. The garlic chives tore up so much of the path right in the center of the garden, that we had to tear up the bricks to get at all the roots. I will reset this part of the path tomorrow.

Enjoy all of this lovely weather! xo, Liz

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Missed Connections part 2

I had to call my Aunt  Terri - to find out how late in the evening that she could pick me up. Then, after calling AA and being patiently on hold for 22 minutes, my call is dropped. I call again, and I am rebooked once more. I won't be getting into Gainesville until 10:30pm. But I'll be there! Hooray!!
Except by this time the severe weather had traveled further north - and my third flight was cancelled. I had now spent 6 + hours in the airport, waiting...
It was quite obvious to me that American could do nothing about the weather, other than take the precautions of keeping their passengers safe and cancelling flights.
My only hope then is to see if I can get an early flight out the next morning. The agent I finally talk to is very helpful, senses that this flight is very important to me and without asking, gets me the last seat on the 7:00am flight the next morning. Done. The weather is supposed to be clear, surely nothing will prevent me from getting to Gainesville by 10:30
Fortunately I live about 20+ minutes from Dulles - because I was never offered a hotel room for the night. My husband came and picked me up, and I spent the evening at home in Virginia - instead of with my new family in Florida.
Morning comes early, and I am on my way back to the airport. 
I get on the plane, and everything is on time. So much so, that we arrive in Charlotte 1/2 hour early! 
The pilot is told to wait, as soon as the assigned gate opens up, we'll be deplaning. The connecting flight the agent set up for me allowed just enough time for me to get off the plane and walk directly that gate. I presumed because he booked it - it would no big deal. 
But it was, because at 8:34 we were still sitting on the plane and no closer to being assigned a gate. I still had faith that AA knew what they were doing. But I guess not...
We deplaned using the stairs, luckily my suitcase was one of the earlier ones that was unloaded. I grabbed it, walked inside the terminal, went directly to the flight board. The Gainesville flight was in time and just a few gates down. 
Wow - I thought - it must be not very full - there was hardly anyone waiting.
Then as I wondered where the check in agents were, as well as all the passengers, I looked at the plane through the window once more - and the jets had started up. I don't fly very often, but this didn't look good. 
I grabbed a service employee and they went out to the tarmac. The plane was closed and I had indeed missed my connection - because my arriving flight was early? Are you serious AA? 
Next step. Do I cry? I couldn't believe this. No, not yet. I hold it together and go to customer service. The agent there incurred a bit of my wrath while I was simultaneously apologizing. There were 4 ridiculous, circuitous options for getting me to my final destination. I said I didn't care - just get me on the earliest one you can. 
Miami was the winner. They were boarding now, so she flagged down a cart for me and off we go. Upon reaching the escalator, an employee  grabbed my ticket, flagged down another cart on the upper level and off we went racing down the terminal. Finally there, I was one of the last passengers to get on the plane. We are approaching the airport now. In Miami. It is 11:30am
I should have been in Gainesville an hour ago- trying to piece together 56 years in my missing life. But instead, I am in Miami. 
Now I have lost TWO days, 24 precious hours of time with this new family I have. Who have taken time off from work - to spend with me. My aunt has been waiting for this day for 56 years, 2 months, and one week. The 2 days that I have now lost - are an eternity all because my flight from Dulles arrived early in Charlotte. 
I am slayed. 
A very sad American Airlines customer, 
Sincerely, Elizabeth Pickett

Missed Connections

Dear American Airlines,

I am on my way to Miami now. Is that my destination? No, but I digress.
Let me tell you a story. 
In December, 56 years ago, I was born. Out of wedlock. I was officially adopted on February 2nd of the following year. I was raised in a loving and wonderful family. 
Both of my adoptive parents are now dead, making me think that perhaps I should go in search of my birth family. Which I did, last August. Within 20 minutes of sending out an email to my 'new' aunt in Florida, I was greeted with a joyful response. 
I wrote a blogpost about the beginnings of my search on and called it My Big Wow. 
An 'original' cousin, Kathryn Romano, was so touched by these unfolding events, that she offered me her airline miles to travel to Florida - when I was ready. 
After arranging things with my 'new aunt' Terri - involving her taking days off from her job, I contacted Kathryn in early January and asked her to book my flights.
I would be flying from Dulles to Gainesville, via Charlotte on Feb 23. I was so excited!!
The day finally came. My husband drive me to the airport and I  boarded my flight to Charlotte. We sat on the tarmac for two hours waiting to take off. Unfortunately a terrible storm was making its way up the east coast. Charlotte was not letting any flights in or out. Eventually we ended up back at the gate, and I was trying to make new plans to get a flight out. I was taken care of by a very competent agent and rebooked through Miami with a connecting flight back to Gainesville. They ticketed me and I was ready to go. The flight was leaving shortly and we had not gotten the severe weather yet, it was only lightly raining at this point.   I waited about an hour (?) when it was announced that my flight had been canceled. To be continued...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Big WOW Part 2

I have had a lot to absorb over the past 6 months. I still walk around with the bubble over my head and yes, when it pops, out comes:

wow bubble by
Relatively soon after I posted My Big WOW, I started to connect more pieces to my Birth Family Puzzle. My Aunt Terri messaged me some photographs and I noticed other 'cousin' connections on Facebook.
What I had overlooked - was while I was bemoaning the fact that my Aunt and her family was in Florida, and another cousin was in North Carolina, another out in Arizona - was that I had a cousin Mary - who lived really close to York, PA - where I grew up, and now visit my brother and friends. 
I could actually meet her! Happy Dance!!! About a month later I was messaging back and forth with Mary, trying to find a good date for us to get together. As it turns out the best time for us to meet was when I was up in York for St. Mary's Holiday Bazaar. 
In Mid November. :(  
At that moment I felt like that was the ~~12th of Never~~.
When we started messaging back and forth, the first thing that Mary said to me was "I just want to be where you are". Followed by "I love how you're freaking. So am I". 

Before I get too ahead of myself - and confuse you totally... here's my 
Birth Family Order - in purple are my Aunts and Uncle - their children (my cousins) are listed below their names. The dates next to their names are when I first met them online or by phone.
Marian ~~~(dec'd)
Phyllis (me - Liz)
John David (half brother - dec'd)
Catherine E. (half sister - dec'd)
My Aunt - Louise ~~~(dec'd)
Mary - Aug. 21
Kitty - Oct. 2
Louis - Jan 2016
Therese - Sept. 17
My Uncle - Tommy ~~~
Salisa - Jan 2016
JD - Nov.7
My Aunt - Terri ~~~
Diana - Aug. 2

About a month after I started talking to Mar(y), Terese, her sister messaged me and we started to get to know one another. During our first conversation she asked if I wanted to have something my mother made. I was astounded. Of course I do! And, my goodness, thank you! Turns out that something was a Greenware pumpkin. Greenware was very popular craft with house wives in the late 1950s into the 60s. 
Another month goes by and cousin Kitty chimes in. Facebook has been such a wonderful way to get to know the personalities of everyone. Then it's Jd's birthday - and I contact him to say hello. 
It's almost time to meet Mary. She is going to come to St. Mary's on the days we are pricing and setting up in Mid November. And the day and time are here. And there we are. I am crying like a baby. In complete love with her, overwhelmed, joyful, amazed - WOW!

Meeting my birth cousin for the first time.
Mar, me and one of my 'original' cousins, Joanie.
Mar with me holding the Greenware pumpkin that was made by my birth mother Marian.

Mar was sweet enough to help both days setting up for the bazaar - and we had time to visit. She even had me over for dinner and I was able to meet her husband, mother in law, daughter and grand daughter. It was lovely! 

December comes and with it, a wonderful surprise. My husband and daughter coordinated with a dear friend, Janis, and my cousin, Kitty, for me to fly out to Arizona - to not only visit with Janis who had just moved out there early last year, but also to meet Kitty! January 22nd couldn't come soon enough.
December also came with some difficult news. The man that had married my mother and was the father of my two half siblings, died on the 19th. This is now someone I will never get to talk to, nor ask questions of. His memorial is held on January 16th.

After I had posted my first Big Wow - I had a cousin (another 'original'), Kathy, contact me. 

"Lisa, I read your blog. I am so thrilled for you. You can never have too many people to love you. I travel all the time for work and I have a ton of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. If you would like to visit your birth family, I would be privledged to cover your flight and hotel room".

So this is my next adventure - tomorrow I fly to Florida to meet my Aunt Terri, cousin Diana and her husband Michael, and their little girl Charity. I have also been told that two Uncles - Lew (by marriage) and Tommy (Marian's little brother) are planning to travel from other locations in Florida to visit with me! 

My Big Wow - Part 3 will be coming shortly. I have all sorts of stories to share with you about the memorial service and my visit to Arizona. Then of course - there's this trip and Part 4!

I'll be sharing some high lights on FB - but until next time...

Hugs, Liz

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My big WOW.

I have had a lot going on this past year - but this amazing piece of news takes the cake.

I have found the beginnings of my birth family.
It is my birth mother's birthday today - August 18th.

Where to begin...

I have know my birth name for years - I asked my mother while I was in labor with my first daughter, Virginia. She told me that my name was Phyllis Marie Serijack. However - that was 20+ years ago - and searching the internet was a whole different story back then. Plus - I didn't know at the time how my last name was spelled. All that my mother knew, and who knows if this was even so - was that my mother was a college student in Philadelphia when she had me. 
Dead end.
My adoptive parents Bruce and Ginny Nolin

While my adoptive mother was alive, I did not actively search for my birth mother. My Mom was amazing in so many ways, but one thing she did not have - was self confidence. I had absolutely NO desire to undermine her motherhood by doing a search for my birth mother. She was an amazing mom.
My only feeling of 'lack' within myself - was that I didn't look like anyone. No one in 'my' family looked alike - my brother Matt was also adopted - 2 years before me - from a completely different family.

Me and Matt
Very sadly - as you can read here my adoptive mom passed away in 2014. Ensue the grieving. 
She was my everything and it took all of this time to start to feel like me again.

Within the past 2 months, while searching for some important papers, I came across my adoption decree and it scared me. Not only was my birth name on the decree - but so was my birth mother's - Catherine M. Serijack. Known quantities are good right?
I kept it out - and would give it a sideways glance now and then, thinking I would 'do something' when my daughter was home in September. 
She ended up coming home a few weeks ago - and I showed her the decree. She immediately said - let's see what we can find. So we did. 

Sadly we found this - my birth mother

 and this - my two half siblings.
We found this information via Google on the Find a Grave website.
Not only was my birth mother dead, but so was my half brother (5 years younger) and my half sister (10 years younger). Wow - this sucks! Now it felt like I lost them all over again...ugh. I am still trying to wrap my head around this loss.
Thankfully, survivors were listed.
Theresa Mycoff was listed as a sister to my birth mother, Marian. Ginna immediately looked for her on Facebook - and found her! Sweet Jesus! I might be related to this woman. It is getting more and more real.  

My Aunt Terri

Then we found her daughter - my cousin, and her daughter on Facebook. Wow.
Dianna and her daughter

Me and my daughter

Ginna in Kindergarten

I think we could be related...

So then - what's next?
Well - we probably have done enough stalking for now.
The next morning, a Sunday, my dear, sweet, daughter has already Googled 'how to write a letter to someone you do not know'. She outlines some key points in a word doc and we work on crafting a sincere and convincing letter to this person - that may be my birth mother's sister. We send the letter off via a business email - we don't want to be too intrusive - just in case.
Within 20 minutes I receive this reply "You have indeed found more family. This is Terri's daughter Diana Adams. My mother would love to talk to you. Her number is xxx-xxx-xxxx".
And I burst into tears.

That day is already filled. I am taking my daughter up to York/Lancaster to catch the train back in to Philly. I ask if I can call Terri in the evening when I get back to York after dropping Ginna off at the train.
We talk for 2 hours and I think much of the time we both are in disbelief. Terri is the youngest of her family. Marian (my birth mother) was the oldest. When I was born, Marian was 21 and Terri was 2. Terri only found out about me when she was 18. By then, Marian was married and had the 'first' of her children, John. Catherine was born 4 years later.
Very sadly, in 1986, my half brother and sister, John Miller (age 21), Catherine Miller (age 17), and her husband-to-be James Carl (age 24), die in a house fire. Some how Marian and her husband managed get out of the house and survive the fire.
The thought gives one pause. I am my mother's only surviving child. And she knows nothing of me.
Marian dies 4 years later, on Nov. 26th at the young age of 52. Her death is attributed to a heart attack. Having lost a child myself, I suspect that it may have been a broken heart.
These new losses do not overshadow the fact that I now have more family. Family members that were excited and happy that I found them. How cool is that?! 
Unfortunately we have 800 miles that separate us. Thank goodness for the internet. Ginna and I are now friends with Terri and Diana on Facebook. We talk via Messenger, email, and phone.
And everytime I stop to think about my good fortune, a "WOW" bubble pops in my head, and I might have a happy cry.

SO - to my adoptive family - the family who has cradled me in their love for all of my 55 years - I love you. 
To all of my Aunts and Uncles - you have been second parents to me and my brother - scolded us when we needed it, and loved us like crazy all of the rest of the time. 
To my cousins - we were a tribe when we were young! 
You were my brothers and sisters - loving, scrapping, laughing, swimming, hide and seek, and capture the flag. You treated me and Matt no differently than the rest. I have seen most of you marry and have children, then your children marry and have children.
We have seen some of our parents die - as well as some of our siblings. A cousin who was adopted out as a baby - has found us - and we welcomed her and her children.
Please say hello to and welcome my birth family.
My family - the four of us - Dad, Mom, Matt and me (Lisa) were the smallest of the families - among both the Trulino's and the Nolin's. But this never dimmed the shine. My mother loved us fiercely, loved her family fiercely and taught Matt and I to do the same. We learned that family isn't about blood. Family is about LOVE.

One lucky girl, Liz

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quick and Easy Jewelry Display

Because my mind just works like this...Whenever I am taking anything out of a package - I think of using the packaging in another way. Interesting printed card stock that might have been a background for some charms or stickers will normally be punched out into a few tags. 

Recently I have gotten bored with the standard jewelry displays out there. Of course I have altered them, but I am always looking for a way to change things up. These clear tubes held Washi Tape (one of my faves). I looked at them and thought, these would make great bracelet displays/holders. 

You may have to go out and purchase some of these supplies (or not). I had everything at hand. Yes, my kid was the lucky one growing up. Whatever she needed, for whichever project, it was probably up in my workroom.

First I stuffed the clear tubes with tissue. Yes it is pieces of a sewing pattern. Because I was concerned that the label on the tube would show through the burlap, I took the time to peel/pick it off. That was a waste of time. Don't lose 6 minutes of your life doing this.
I cut the burlap 5" wider than the tube and twice the dimension around. I also cut both pieces from the selvage end of the burlap so that I would have a finished edge on the long side of the bracelet display.
I sprayed both pieces of burlap with the Spray Mount. Do this where you have a drop cloth or over something that you don't care if it gets sticky.
Line up your tube with the edge of the fabric and roll it with equal tension, smoothing the fabric to the tube. 

Crimp the ends with your fingers. You can use anything to tie the ends off. I used some burlap 'threads' to finish the ends off. 

They blended in well. However, you could use a ribbon that coordinates or contrasts with your fabric.

Because the edges were square, I fringed them just a bit and gave them a little of a trim. Didn't I tell you?! Easy Peasy!

And look at how nicely they display these bracelets!

You can see the reverse of one of the rolls and how nicely that selvage edge finished them off.
These will be going to 56 Provisions, York, PA to display some of my Arm Candy that is for sale in the shop.

Post your questions below.
Happy crafting! Liz

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