Thursday, December 31, 2009

Along the Road


Good morning and Happy New Years Eve! I hope you all had the most lovely Christmas ever and are looking forward to a bright New Year. Who knows what the future will bring…hopefully only good things.

We spent Christmas in the lovely town of Yuma  Arizona (I’m grimacing here) and attended a new age Christmas eve service where my father was singing. He has the most beautiful baritone voice I’ve ever heard and sang a few of my favorite Christmas Carlos like, “Do you hear what I hear.” The message was very strange and not once was Jesus’ name mentioned…He Is after all the reason for the Christmas season ;-).


On our way home we stopped at one of my favorite little plots of land in the universe, Summer’s Past Farms. It’s located off of Hwy 8 outside of a small town called Alpine. It’s such a peaceful place where I always leave feeling refreshed and full of new ideas for my own little plot of land.

In the center of the garden was a new  faerie covered in leopard spots and dancing atop a collection of mushrooms… so sweet!


This little stone bunny was guarding his cabbage patch hoping noone would steal any of his crops. Hubby thought this was the cutest thing he’d seen and decided we needed a patch of our own…we’ll see.


We headed home after a short visit and back to our daily lives, but we had a wonderful time. Now we are looking forward to what happens next, what the future holds, what we’ll find around the next corner. And whatever it may be I know that we’ll face it with the Lord at our side and before us.

I hope you all have a great New Years and be safe!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

The inhabitants of Brambleberry Cottage
will be out of town for a few days so if I don't peak my head in to say hello, please know that you're all in my thoughts and prayers. And as we gather with friends and family I hope we remember the true meaning of Christmas...

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:9-14

The birth of our Messiah
Wishing all my sweet friends
a VeRy MeRRy CHRISTmas!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Death by Chocolate!

A couple of days ago was my birthday so I made my all time favorite birthday cake and thought I would share it with you all. It’s super rich, creamy, and very heavy so a small slice is all you need. This recipe serves 18-20, but I made a smaller version that will serve 10 very happy people.


8 oz fine quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup water
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
2/3 cup, sour cream
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of cream of tartar
chocolate curls
raspberries and confectioners’ sugar to decorate (optional)



1 lb. fine quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup brandy or rum
3/4 cup seedless raspberry preserve


1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbls. brandy


Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 in. springform pan and line base with waxed paper. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat chocolate, butter, and water until melted. Stirring frequently. Remove from heat, beat in sugar and vanilla and cool.

In a bowl, beat yokes lightly, then beat into cooled chocolate mixture; gently fold in sour cream. Into a bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda, then fold into chocolate mixture. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form; fold in chocolate mixture.


Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until cake begins to shrink away from side of pan. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes (cake may shrink in center, this is normal) Run a sharp knife around the edge of pan, then unclip pan and carefully remove side. Invert cake onto wire rack, remove bottom of pan and cool completely. Wash and dry pan.


Prepare filling in a saucepan over medium heat, heat chocolate, butter, and 4 Tbls. brandy until melted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside to cool and thicken.


Cut cake crosswise into three even layers. Heat the raspberry preserve and remaining brandy until melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Spread a thin layer over each of the cake layers and allow to set.


When the filling is spreadable, place the bottom cake layer back in the pan. Spread with half the filling, top with the second layer of cake, then spread with the remaining filling and top with the top cake layer, preserve side down. Gently press layers together,


cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight.


Carefully run a sharp knife around edge of cake to loosen, then unclip and remove side of pan. Set cake on wire rack over a cookie sheet to catch any drips. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate all at once, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the brandy and strain into a bowl. Allow to stand for 4-5 minutes to thicken slightly.


Beginning from the center of the bowl and working out towards the edge, whisk the glaze until smooth and shiny. Pour over the cake using a metal spatula to help smooth top and sides; allow glaze to set.


Slide cake onto serving plate and decorate with chocolate curls and raspberries. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Do not refrigerate or it will become dull. (Oh, I always refrigerate mine).


My chocolate curls weren’t exactly cooperating so they turned out more like ribbons, but they still tasted delicious! And just in case you make this deadly cake I’d love to know what you thought.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

You struggle, My child, when you could as easily rest in My arms. You concern yourself with the actions of others and neglect the important things: to abide in Me. He who abides in me has no need to be anxious. When you are moving out of My divine will, you have unrest. Abiding brings confiding. For to know Me is to trust Me, and trust brings peace.

Taken from: on the Highroad of Surrender by: Frances J. Roberts

Friday, December 18, 2009



It’s another fun filled Friday here at my cottage and I’ve got a million errands to run and yet here I sit…


at my computer in my jammies and slippers…or maybe it’s my pirate costume. I can’t tell. Anywho, I haven’t started my Christmas shopping which means I’m right on schedule and I have a birthday cake to bake this afternoon for my birthday tomorrow. I’m making my favorite…DEATH BY CHOCOLATE…it’s made with 2 lbs. of bittersweet chocolate, but I’ll be making the smaller version with only 1 lb. There are 3 layers of cake and 2 layers of chocolate ganache with raspberry…yum!!!


But first I’m going out to do a little antiques shopping. I saw a gorgeous cake plate at one of my favorite stores last week, so I thought I’d make the trip back this morning and see if it’s still there.


I’ll be sure to post my cake tomorrow and maybe the recipe…it is delicious!!! Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful Friday. Oh, my pictures are from a store in Orange called Country Roads…it’s one of my favorites!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Images courtesy: The Everett Collection

Emily Blunt is staring in a new movie called "The Young Victoria" which is opening this Friday... in limited engagement, and I'm hoping it will be playing at a theater near me.
Have you heard about it and are you planning to see it?
If so, I'd love to know what you thought.

Here's a little info on her life from Wikipedia:

Victoria ( 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837, and the first Empress of India of the British Raj from 1 May 1876, until her death. Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and 7 months, longer than that of any other British monarch before or since, and her reign is the longest of any female monarch in history. The time of her reign is known as the Victorian era, a period of industrial, political, scientific and military progress within the United Kingdom.

Monday, December 14, 2009

All is toasty & warm


We had our first rain of the season on Saturday and it was so peaceful staying in doors curled up on the couch in front of a blazing fire.


It’s not often we get to enjoy a fire in this little cottage of ours because of the old shake roof that’s very brittle and dry. Several years back an entire neighborhood with shake roofs went up in flames and they’ve been outlawed since.


During the winter months I like to add deeper colors to my decor….red velvets and chocolate browns mixed with white lace. It somehow adds to the winteriness of the season.


Hubby’s having a Christmas party at work so I made one of my famous Chocolate cheese cakes…only it flopped! I’ve never had a cheese cake do this to me! Never! Growing up I wanted to become one of Mrs. Claus’s elfs so I could work in the bakery at the North Pole and I’m thinking this would never do on a resume..."cheesecake mutilator." Could you imagine?


The clouds have blown away the rain and our skies are clear again. How's the veiw from where you are?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Candy Cane

If you'd like to read the poem about the
Candy Cane please click on the image.

Make my life Your temple
L-rd at this season start
To pull down every idol I have raised up in my heart

On this Chanukah
On this Feast of Dedication
I dedicate myself to You

Take my defiled altar
Come and cleanse and come repair
So every time I falter I can run to meet you there

On this Chanukah
On this Feast of Dedication
I dedicate myself to You

And with every candle on the menorah
That illuminates the night
Comes a prayer You’d kindle
In me Y’shua
A desire for Your fire, for Your light

Make of my mortal body
A house worthy of Your name
Rid me of what’s ungodly and every hidden thing of shame

On this Chanukah
On this Feast of Dedication
I dedicate myself to You

Take my supply of oil
Not enough to burn long I fear
But, oh how I pray I may one day say “A great miracle happened here!”

On this Chanukah
On this Feast of Dedication
I dedicate myself to You

Music and Lyrics by Marty Goetz

©1997 Singin’ in the Reign Music/ASCAP

Friday, December 11, 2009

Special Delivery

I received a huge package in the mail a few days ago from my dear friend Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti. I won her Christmas give-away and was so tickled since this was Pat's first give-away and she was my first bloggy friend. Come to think of it, she was my first bloggy friend that I met in the real world. We spent a lovely day in San Diego together about a year ago.
So, back to my give-away...I opened up my box to find another box beautifully wrapped for Christmas as well as a lovely card, Gingerbread Spice Tea, and some delicious smelling pottpouri.

And here's the beautiful Lenox Christmas Tea Pot that I won. Isn't it gorgeous? And it's perfect for the Holidays!
Dearest Pat, it is beautiful and will always remind me of the sweet lady that has become a friend. I will cherish it always...thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Love, Cori

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It’s a Fanciful Day in the Neighborhood...


As many of you know, today is our Beloved Fanciful friend, Vanessa’s Birthday, and we are here to celebrate and honor you, delightful lady, with our thoughts and words.

My story begins with those silly little striped socks and pointy shoes that kept popping up all over Bloglandia…that was little over a year ago. Every time I’d click on a blog there they were bouncing up and down…Boing! Boing! Boing! Beckoning me to follow them. One day curiosity whispered in my ear, “follow the striped socks through the secret keyhole.” So I did and found myself in the middle of the most enchanted world filled with elfin creatures, polka-dot mushrooms, and the most magical Gypsy Garden. It was like falling into a dream that you never wanted to wake from.

Beloved Fanciful One, you have been such a source of inspiration in my life as well as many others. Living in my ever practical world I had forgotten how to dream or that I loved to dream and that it’s OK to dream. You reminded me to be creative and be silly and  love the small things in life. Tumbling into your delightful realm was like finding a long lost childhood friend who I had been missing for years. You my friend are such a delightful part of my life and I thank you ever so much for being my friend. And I wish you the bestest, bestest birthday ever.

HAPPY 34th Vanessa!!

I love you!!! 

Oh! And please! please! forgive me for stealing your image without permission ;O! It was Darling Deb’s idea…tee hee!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sweet Sugar Plums


I'm still trying to get my Christmas decorating done, but don't seem to be making much progress. How is yours going?

Yesterday was a day filled with blessed rain. I love the rain! One of the things that I love the most is that in our little hamlet of Alasleim there are many strawberry fields and when it rains the air is filled with their sweet aroma. It's such an amazing thing to open your door in the wee hours of the morning and feel like your swimming in the scent of strawberries. So wonderful!

I mentioned a few posts back that I went out looking for decorating inspiration and came home with so many lovely visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. Does anyone know what a sugar plum really is?

I haven’t got the foggiest!


Any how, while out looking the other day for inspiration, I saw so many lovely Christmas vignettes that were done with everyday antiques… plates…silver spoons… and linens. So I thought it would be fun to use some of mine to decorate with this year.


I have these old rosy bud vases that were given to me when my grandfather passed away many years ago and decided to fill them with those darling lollipops. I wedged them in with some old crocheted doilies I had lying around. Sometimes I'm amazed at all the treasure troves I have tucked into every nook and cranny of this little dwelling. Too many really!


I found these cloches at Big Lots years ago and paid $3.95 per cloche…I bought 4 and two of them are very tall. They’re very bubbly looking which gives them a blurry texture.


It doesn't matter what holiday it is around will always find bunnies. I use this little guy for everything.


Brambleberry Cottage has the darkest little entry I’ve ever seen so I thought it would be fun to bring the light pinks and greens from the kitchen here too. This is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. I know you can only see the top and part of the back, so I'm sure you have no idea what it is. So I'll tell you ;-). It's a lovely wash stand from the Edwardian Era placed in the ugly little entry. I'm hoping to get this area of my cottage redone right after new years so I'll probably show it to you then. It has lovely delicate carving on the front and half columns on each corner (the wash stand, not the entry). It is a beauty.

Well, it's getting late and I'm still not feeling my best so I'm going to prepare my coffee for tomorrow, allow the livestock to roam the grassy area for a few minutes, then get ready for bed. I hope you all have a wonderful peaceful evening!!

Monday, December 7, 2009


This is where I've been the past several days.
Curled up beneath the warmth of a beloved blanket
that a dear friend made for me.

It's softness and warmth provided a certain comfort to keep the chill away.

As I lay there wrapped in it's warmth on a cold chilly day
I was reminded of another Friend
who is always just a stones toss away.
No matter how dark my Gethsemane may be
He is just up the path
making intersession for me.

Friday, December 4, 2009



I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve explored the local antiques stores, but with Christmas just around the corner I thought It would be fun to go looking for some Christmas inspiration...antique style. My first stop is always Country Roads Antiques in the city of Orange where so many of the vendors have created the dreamiest spaces. I love the way this old table cloth has been draped across the faux window.


I loved this little corner that was decorated with a small tree and vintage fotos hanging from sweet pink ribbons as ornaments. I tried to take a picture for you, but the tree was against a huge picture window with the sun light streaming through...all I could get was a huge white blur.


I met up with this lovely lady and she reminded me of Vanessa’s Miss Hall-Borchert. As I gazed upon her standing there alone I thought to myself, “she and Miss Hall-B. would be the best of friends. No one should be left alone and friendless as this one was...especially during the Holidays.


I don’t know why, but I loved this little vignette behind the chicken wire…oops! I think these days it’s commonly called, “poultry confinement material.” What a strange world we live in, do you agree? Yes, I thought you would!


I found these rose covered plates that I’ve been searching for forever and a day, but decided to pass them up until hubby called. It seems I’ve been making a lot of “unauthorized purchases” of late. Of course he would never so no to anything I wanted to buy, although there was that time in Petaluma when I fell in love with an ebonized Victorian piano stool inlaid with mother of pearl and he said “absolutely not!” I dearly love to tease him about that one ;-).


I was planning to make gingerbread cookies today and finish my Christmas decorating. I’m so far behind. But, I’ve been trying to ignore a head cold for the past week that has finally gotten the better of me. So who knows…

I may just sit here curled up on the couch all day sipping spiced cider and looking through my old Victoria magazines for old inspirations made new.

I hope you all have a lovely Friday where ever you are.