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Oh Triumphant Day

February 20, 2011

It started by nearly missing the judging portion altogether.  There was a mistake on the exhibit times – to the tune of being an hour sooner than what was printed!  Luckily my mom was going too, and had a different time on her printout, so I called PAC to clarify which was correct.  We rushed and got there about 15 minutes before judging. 

When David and I arrived we were greeted by “You’re Jennifer, aren’t you?  I am so glad you made it in time – where’s your mom?”

I was then shown where my entry was hanging.  There was a red dot on the title card.  “Do you know what that means?”  I was asked.  I said, “no”.  “It means your piece SOLD!”  She almost yelled, as excited for me as I was about to be.  “— it sold?!?”

“Your mom was so excited, she wanted to tell you – but I can’t wait any longer and she’s not here.”  (I am sorry I don’t know who it was who told me, I was in shock from the great news!)

It turns out an older gentleman came in, loved Triumph, and purchased it as a gift.  OMG!  Now it’s not like I haven’t sold things, lots and lots of them actually – but not at a show like this I haven’t.  The thrill is altogether different than it was in my brick and mortar store, on line, or in an outdoor art festival setting.  It is even more affirming to have someone come in, admire and ultimately purchase it.  David had been off admiring an abstract oil canvas that depicted a pool of swimming koi.  The shape of their orange backs just discernable within the choppy oil waters attracted him. 

When I told him his jaw dropped.  Yep, just like in a book, “his jaw dropped.”  !

This thrill carried on and when my mom finally arrived she was beside herself for me.  She had known Triumph sold for over a week and kept it secret.  Oh the strength that must’ve taken!  During the judging, we stood around applauding for the honorable mentions, 3rd place, 2nd place – all going to canvas after canvas of wonderful, beautiful fine art. 

“And 1st place goes to Jennifer Swan Hopkins!”  Now it was time for MY jaw to drop.  And to fight a very tearful reaction.  Mom and Terry didn’t bother fighting it, they cried and David grinned.  The show of support from them and those strangers all around me was even more of a high – uplifting and heartwarming.

My work "Triumph" took 1st Place in the Pasco Arts Council annual exhibit!  The judge said,

"This tapestry works on so many levels… The mixing of cloth and paper, the great layering, the use of different stitching patterns. In this body, it stands out as very original."

How fabulous it is to be recognized and have something you love to do appreciated – thank you God, mom, PAC and that unknown judge, so very much!

This piece is especially meaningful to me from its Theda Bara Cleopatra image, to the ornately wrought collage work and 1920’s pull incorporated into it.  Its saying (also from the play “Cleopatra”), “I will not be triumphed over”, signifies the core of iron in my own middle, my will to overcome my limitations, to excel.

Let me recap – My piece sold AND I won 1st prize.  Whooo Hooo!





Incisions, Incisions…

January 30, 2011

*Day 3 ☼ This is not my first adventure with shoulder surgery, God willing – it is my last!  The first was 6 years ago, and entailed an open-rotator cuff repair on my left shoulder, meaning they cut my shoulder wide open.  I don’t remember the pain of surgery as being any more than expected.  However PT (physical therapy) was excruciating and lasted forever, or so it seemed.  The agony was so intense I thought (as I bawled in front of a room full of strangers) I should suggest it to captors in need of new torture regimens.  I’m sure they are always on the lookout for alternative methods of making prisoners cry… and break.  Shoulder PT would bring even the most resistant to their knees.

Despite the pain, I persevered and regained 100% of my range of motion in the shoulder, and it was as good as new.  Successful and with the torture securely behind me, I highly (and blithely) recommended this surgery to family, friends and complete strangers that crossed my path and who were in search of options and personal experiences.  So, even though I knew what I was in for, when my right shoulder began its familiar bad behavior about a year ago, I began preparing mentally. 

Decisions, Decisions ☼ The right shoulder had always been the trouble-maker, which was why I was so surprised when the left one “went” 6 years ago.  20-odd years ago I was rear-ended at 40 miles while at a stoplight.  I was holding onto the steering wheel of course, and the resulting jolt tore something (in addition to giving me a nasty whiplash) in my shoulder.  Thus began years of PT, cortisone injections, remission and recurrence of the symptoms.  I guess over time it finally just gave up and grew a bone spur out of spite or something, leaving me with a tear, a spur and eventually, a frozen shoulder. 

In September, I knew full-blown shoulder-shut down was immanent – I could literally feel it in my bones.  I kept trying to move, stretch, and use my arm to try to stop the ravages of the inevitable, to no avail.  In November I gave up.  I researched and found a surgeon.  In December, as a reaction to a yearly insurance deductible, I changed my appointment to January.  A day before the surgery it was moved up a week. 

‘sigh.  I can’t tell you what a drag it is to be “ready” for the dread experience of surgery, (which you are willing to endure just so the months of sleepless nights and the pain due to your stupid shoulder, will end) just to have it cancelled.

Finally last Thursday, after a year of more misery, I had my right shoulder repaired.  Athroscopically this time; here begins a new journey for me.  A little late to think of this, I am mostly struck with the enormously difficult task of doing things left-handed.  I wield a fork like a 1-year old, dumping scrambled eggs down my front and forgetting my right arm doesn’t work so well.  Imagine the painful shock of unconsciously reaching with the right for the remote… an explosively offered “SHIT” is an oft-heard word lately.  It us usually preceded by “OW OW OW, DAMMIT, CRAP, OHHHHH!!!!” in a high-pitched screech. 

As I venture into the world of the south-paw, I have an uncomfortable feeling this recovery is going to be much more challenging.

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repairs

By Jonathan Cluett, M.D., Guide

Image © Medical Mulitmedia Group

rotator cuff tear

A tear of the rotator cuff is an injury to the tendons of the shoulder muscles.

Arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs cause minimal trauma to the tissues that surround the shoulder and the rotator cuff. Because of this patients have smaller scars and less damage to these nearby structures. Most important of these surrounding structures is the large deltoid muscle over the outside of the shoulder. One potential complication of an open rotator cuff repair is detachment of the deltoid; this potential problem is avoided by the arthroscopic technique. Some surgeons also believe they can see the rotator cuff much better through an arthroscope, and can maneuver throughout the shoulder joint without the limitations of an incision.

See More About:

Sweet MorpheusThe things that “get to” me because of my experiences or fears, most likely aren’t the same as yours.  My doctor opts for the “shoulder nerve block” method of anesthesia during shoulder surgeries.  When I told Dr. Anesthesia “I don’t want that.”  She dispassionately explained the harsh reality of getting knocked out to me.  As I agonized over them using their usual method, versus using narcotics to sedate me, I tried to assimilate the information. 

No block meant narcotics (necessitating “protecting my airway” by intubating me).  Narcotics make me nauseous at best, and produce uncontrollable vomiting and depression for days afterwards at worst.  The block and its anesthesia have the benefits of non-narcotic knock-outs and pain relief for 24 hours following surgery as your entire shoulder, and arm, are numb.  For me the down side of this method is the freaky way I feared I would feel from said numbness (valium, please!)  I envisioned 24 hours of nails screeching down a chalk board.  After anxious contemplation I surrendered and said, “go ahead with the block”.

Upon arrival at home I felt positively crawly and weirded out.  When I would move, this alien appendage would flop like a great, hot, limp, fish; and lay their kind of tingling and swollen, silently mocking me for succumbing to the block.  As I walked it would swing eerily with flailing, pendulous, heavy movements – apparently of its own accord – making me doubt it was actually attached at all.  When I would grab it to try to stop it (as it was freaking me out no end) I wondered in alarm “WHOSE IS THIS???”  I was tempted to let it go – It sure as hell didn’t feel like anything of MINE.  When I would roll on my side, it remained dead, just laying there back behind me, “it can’t be good for it to be at that angle, right?” I thought, as I called David to come pick it up and place it in some semblance
of normalcy at my side.

Add to that the fact that my neck and face were numb too, and that my eye kind of drooped – well, it’s over now.  Thank God.



*Please forgive typos and lapses in grammar, logic, etc… it’s really hard to type and I am still recovering!

Mermaid Miracle Shrine

January 22, 2011

It wasn’t intentional, but I finished this piece yesterday and here it is Pink Saturday!  Don’t you love a happy co-inky-dink?  I do!  As you can see, this Mermaid Miracle shrine is PINK!  In person it looks absolutely magical, and it is.  Happy Pink Saturday (Thank you Bev, I’m unofficially – officially participating!)

Mermaid Miracle Shrine

Magic-Mermaid-Shrine-2 Magic-Mermaid-Shrine-6

Miracles DO happen, they are attracted to us when we know in our hearts they are already ours. Delicate and intricate, this shrine shines with the inscription "Faith, Hope, BELIEVE". As she hangs on your wall, she will beautifully remind you of your miracle.


  • ☼ Miracle
  • ☼ Mermaid
  • ☼ Believe
  • ☼ Pink


  • ☼ 6x4x1.25 inches

Materials Used:

  • ☼ Acrylic, Foil, Metal, Paper, Wood, Fabric


  • ☼ US: Included
  • ☼ International: Additional Charges Apply, By Location

Now for Sale in my FaceBook Shop: SHRINES – they are so fabulous: ) I just love this assemblage stuff!

Happy Anniversary Too

January 21, 2011

I was going to write a post for today, January 21, 2011, and wanted to find the picture of us kissing that first night we met.  I found this post and also found, well, I couldn’t say it any better.  So in lieu of new – REPOSTING:


Our Wedding Day

Immediate and first recollections: The day we got married in Minnesota, 16 years ago today, it was about 15 below zero, raw and grey.  I remember I was having panic attacks at the church I was so nervous.  The basement where I got ready was freezing and it had the typical church-basement feel and smell.  It was all so strange and unfamiliar.  My “bouquet” of calla lilies was almost as tall as me.

After the ceremony, we stopped for a toast at a little bar down the road on the way to the reception (which was held at Spanky’s, a bar where there were pool tables, dartboards, foosball, and so on).  Strange venue for a wedding reception, maybe – but it was relaxed and fun (and inexpensive, hey, I paid for this myself!)  We had a caterer, a DJ, kegs and a bunch of uncomfortable older relatives who probably thought, “a reception in a BAR???” or “this will never last”.  Ha.

A Bar for a Wedding Reception?

In our defense, not only was it what we could afford, (other than the church hall and we were NOT about to have a reception some place where you couldn’t drink, smoke, listen to rock, and dance!), it was what we were into at the time; we were in a couple’s dart league out of that bar.  Spanky’s was the place my daughter dragged me off to that first fateful night so I would get out of the house. She was trying to pull me out of my depression caused by the devastating break up nearly a year earlier from my almost-priest, the first “nice” guy I had ever gone out with. 

It is where we met, my David and I.  In front of God and everybody, this is where on that first night I fell unconsciously, completely, hungrily, wantonly into an all encompassing David-kiss before climbing into the backseat of the car to be driven home by my daughter and her then boyfriend, Doug.  That kiss was needed for way too long.  Earlier that evening, before many light beers and dancing with strangers, Spanky’s is where I spotted my David and turned to my daughter and said “that is the kind of guy I want.  I want him.”  But I thought he was taken, all the more compelling, and safe.  Did I mention he was wearing a purple tux and that he had just been best man at his friend’s wedding?  I conversely, had been hanging curtains when my daughter spirited me away without even allowing me a chance to change.


The Dating Game

After that initial night came a time of excruciating first and early dates, the ‘getting back into the game” and “getting to know you’ stage.  Going bowling with the insulating group of friends in tow, or clinking glasses of wheaty visen and slamming boots of beer (down thirsty throats and on wooden planked tables) in between shouting out “HOI HOI HOI!” at the Northeast Minneapolis German restaurant called Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit.   This landmark is where we over-indulged in shots of sweet Apfelkorn and snuff snapped at high velocity up our noses off the ingenious, spring-loaded, wooden snuff board.  These were loud rowdy nights of screaming laughter, polkas, and drinking games, in a convivial establishment where the guy who made me ring the bells while he sang “My Ding-a-Ling” strolled amongst the tables and dirndled waitresses offered endless drinks of fun in a shot glass or who were more than happy to hit you up yet again with their menthol or regular nose-burning snoose.  Accordianist-MarkKaiser_thumb2


                      1. Please leave license and credit card for deposit.
                      2. Das Boot can never touch the table until it is empty.
                      3. After drinking, you must flick the glass with you finger before passing Das Boot.
                      4. Always drink Das Boot with the toe facing out.
                      5. If you get splashed in the face, you must drink again.
                      6. The person who drank from Das Boot immediately preceding the person to empty Das Boot must purchase the next fill.
                      7. If you break rules 2-4, you must drink again.
                      8. Never clink Das Boot with other glassware or slam it on the table.
                        IT WILL BREAK!
                      9. If you break or lose Das Boot you will be charged $50.00!

Arrested Development

Let me try to explain this wild behavior at age 40… I had Adrienne, my darling daughter, when I was 16.  I married young and had two more children, my wonderful sons Collin and Jesse, by the time I was 22.  It didn’t leave much time for growing up normally or doing the things one would do at that age. 

Those first years with David were like a gift I never imagined receiving.

Back th
en it was like I was able to make up for my lost youth, my lost love, my lost time.  This was a hazy almost frantic period of nearly-nightly mini-celebrations at favorite establishments followed by harrowing drives back to St. Paul from Northeast (or Nordeast if you’re a native) Minneapolis for late night/early morning burgers and fries, then home to my house, or to his, then up for work with a blinding headache and no clean clothes.  The later was sometimes remedied by jauntily wearing a man’s suit jacket over a plain, white T – jacket sleeves rolled up.  Pair this with the work-skirt from yesterday (as well as from last night’s revelry), hastily aired out in the dryer and smoothed against my alcohol poisoned, quaking legs, this was the strange and slightly desperate ensemble sometimes worn to my job at the Archdiocese. How did we survive???  Improvisation and luck, apparently.

Of course inspiring mornings like these are what lead to bringing a change or two of clothes over, “just in case”.  They are what precipitate absconding not only with his heart, but a drawer, a section of the closet, a place in the holder for one’s toothbrush, and the space for one’s car in the drive.  Soon you are cleaning and simultaneously reorganizing his house, therefore redecorating a bit – small things at first, like getting him to move the cat litter box out of the dining room (EWWW!)  Larger things (like his roommate) came later…

That sounds sneakier that it was.  Throughout our nearly 2-year dating period I told him right out loud I wanted to marry him.  You see, I had no doubt about him or us, none.  For me, upon seeing his sweet face, his tall lanky form, his blonde, blue-eyed self with the neat clothing and short, military haircut, for me truly it was love at first sight.  When I saw him in uniform (he’d been in the Army, then enlisted in the National Guard) I honestly thought I’d swoon I thought he was so hot.


I realized I’m not mentioning the other times. I could write a book of my early memories and the activities surrounding them there are so many, bear with me while I reminisce a while: 

Going to his parent’s house that first Christmas – they gave me a watch and Mackie perfume he’d picked out.  Our first drive and stay up to the cabin (whoooo son!), playing endless rounds of “dirt” or other games with various friends, my mom, Adrienne, Doug, Steve…; all of us going to the Brown Derby Blues bar, singing karaoke at his mom’s 50th, him getting his “Clam” ice fishing shelter, excitedly setting it up in the dining room and then making plans to go on my maiden ice-fishing escapade.  Him teaching me how to bowl or fish, how to drink beer in tomato juice for breakfast while fishing, being introduced to bachelor food like pizza rolls for the first time; Steve, David and me listening to head-banger music as we drove down to Mankato for the routine and designated Guard weekend.  We had overnighters in St. Cloud (with his long-time Westside Lanes teammates from the Masters league) for a bowling tournament, his 300 game, his 300 ring.  David explaining what a birdie, eagle, or bogie is, showing me how to hold a golf club, how to drive a boat for a skier, how to drive a golf cart; how it is to be included, how to trust and how to recognize love.

This was us these 16 years ago.  I am crying for the joy of it as I write, remembering how I felt when we got married that day.  I knew I had finally WON something, in fact, I knew I had won the grand prize.  Maybe that is why I was so nervous on my wedding day, afraid the fates would be jealous and snatch it all away.  But they haven’t, I think they are rejoicing too.  Happy anniversary David, I love you.


Our Wedding Dance


I’ve seen the seven wonders of the world.
I’ve seen the beauty of diamonds and pearls.
But they mean nothing,
Your love amazes me.

I’ve seen a sunset that would make you cry,
And colors of the rainbow, reaching cross the sky,
The moon in all it’s phases,
Your love amazes me

Don’t you ever doubt this love of mine,
You’re the only one for me.
You give me hope,
You give me reason,
You give me something to believe in –
Forever faithfully.
Your love amazes me.

I prayed for miracles that never came,
I got down on my knees out in the pouring rain.
But only you could save me,
Your love amazes me.

Don’t you ever doubt this love of mine,
You’re the only one for me.
You give me hope,
You give me reason,
You give me something to believe in –
Forever faithfully.
Your love amazes me.

David and Jennifer_thumb[30]

Every sparrow that falls…

January 10, 2011

It started with a premonition I had 3 days ago, of the baby eagle falling out of its nest.  At the time I said to myself, "well that’s a negative thought", and replaced it with visions of a thriving, safe eaglet, and dismissed it.  “It was probably a product of last year’s happenings”, I surmised.

My studio workbench is set up where there are windows on all sides.  They face out toward the pond in our back yard.  It is a magical little portal teaming with “my” ducks, songbirds, turtles, raccoons, cheeky squirrels – life.  This morning I was working on an assemblage piece (I’ll finish it today), and out of the corner of my eye caught what looked like a bird fluttering down, and then with one wing outstretched, it went hopping off into the bushes.  It appeared to be about the size of a kitten and was dark in color. 

This event was over so quickly that there was not enough time to truly see the creature clearly.  My immediate impression was "hawk", but I thought about my premonition. After confirming there was something by looking in the bushes and seeing a scurrying thing hop away from me, I went back inside and started calling Dunedin city numbers to find out who to alert about a possible de-nested eaglet.

After some sleuthing I found a bird rescue operation, and the bird-rescuer said she would be out after a rescue up in Tarpon Springs.  I thought that was kind of odd, as eagles are protected – but, whatever.  She called back within about 2 minutes saying, "I contacted the "eagle lady" and I guess they are priority so I’m coming to your house first." 

Within the hour two women came to our house and we began our structured search for whatever it was I had seen. 

This morning I participated in the rescue of the foretold animal… 

Even grievously wounded he was wily and very good at hiding, his natural camouflage keeping him perfectly hidden when he was right under our feet.  But perseverance and a long-reaching net eventually prevailed, our bird of prey was caught.  It turned out to be a juvenile Coopers Hawk with a badly broken wing.  Speculation was that he got too close to the eagle’s nest and was clipped by the parents, but we don’t really know.

Can I tell you something?  He was so regal, so gorgeous, with his deadly beak and bright golden eyes! 

I looked right into those incredible, piercing eyes and fell in love with him. My identification with him in that instant was absolute.  I was mad at nature right then because he was hurt like that. Also, it seemed like we were adding insult to injury, even though I knew intellectually we were trying to help him. How undignified to be held around one’s talons by this leather-gloved human in such a degrading, terrifying, and unnatural position, then unceremoniously thrust into a cat carrier and taken from the wild and the only world you know.  This was just a momentary, but all-encompassing emotion. 

The entire incident was over in a matter of moments and I was left with a phone number I can call after 24 hours have passed to check on our young patient. What I really emerged with was the enormity of it all. I was given a vision, I was there to witness the fall, and able to do the necessary research, to make the call, to help. I was a part of his destiny and he, mine.

“What is the price of two sparrows – one copper coin?

But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” 

Matthew 10:29

Here are some images of Cooper’s Hawks.  Not my guy (who I have dubbed “Shaman”), but if the videos turn out I’ll put them here for you to see.  These are just for illustration:

Juvenile Coopers Hawk #1
Juvenile Coopers Hawk closeup
#1) Injured Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk
#2) Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk Close Up

What a profound, pivotal experience.  Bottom line?  I had an epiphany today.  I think the trace of American Indian within me, broke through and touched the earth.  So I did some more research (I’ll finish that assemblage piece later!)

Totem animals represent great spirit or that which they need to survive.

Hawk: messenger, intuition, discernment.


UPDATE 7:53 p.m.:

I am bawling – the poor also-bawling rescue lady called to tell me they had to put my little totem animal to sleep.

It was apparent by his injuries that the Eagles had attacked him (Cooper’s Hawks are notorious for eating eaglets). The main artery in his wing was severed, and he was bleeding out so never would’ve survived.

Still blessed, but so sad: ( Oh Shaman!

Is your house clean?

January 1, 2011

Well, mine is.  Yesterday, New Years Eve, I made sure I had it clean and that our laundry was done too – otherwise we’d be living in squalor amongst piles of dirty clothes all year! 

I know because my mom told me so, yep she raised me right. 

She also told me about black-eyed peas and collard greens.  Guess what we had for dinner last night and what we’ll be eating again today… with a side of cornbread, of course!  I think mom wanted to make sure we were covered by eating these on New Year’s Eve, kind of like having money in the bank or insurance.  In any case, now I know 2011 will be filled with prosperity and good luck, it’s ensured by the eating o’ the greens (green=money) and those lucky black-eyed peas. 

I went in search of some official looking back-up for these Southern traditions (mom is from Pensacola, Florida) and here’s what I found at Wikipedia:

  • Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity.
  • In the Southern United States, the peas are typically cooked with a pork product for flavoring (such as bacon, ham bones, fatback, or hog jowl), diced onion, and served with a hot chili sauce or a pepper-flavored vinegar.
  • The traditional meal also features collard, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion.  Cornbread also often accompanies this meal.

I read too that there are some minor variations as well including things like each family member must eat 365 black eyed peas or risk bad luck on one, some, or all days of the year not covered by a New Years black eyed pea. Most often, and fortunately for those who do not like legumes, most families call it good if even one black eyed pea is consumed before the end of the first day of the year.


collard greens
Collard Greens


  • Collard greens are a leafy green vegetable similar to spinach.
  • It’s considered a cabbage and resembles kale.
  • Collard greens and kale were grown in ancient Greece and Rome.
  • They are cheap and easy to grow.

(not so) Secret Recipe

Here’s how I make ‘em!


  • Smoked ham hocks, bacon, ham… about 1/2 pound – it’s for taste
  • 3 lbs. collard greens
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Chicken broth and/or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Wash the greens well, even the pre-washed ones.  Rip or roughly chop the greens. Discard the heaviest stems, but don’t be picky. As the collards cook they will wilt down.
  2. Put the greens, meat and onion in a large soup pot just cover with your liquid of choice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 3 hours, replacing liquid as needed allowing water level to reduce a little at a time until the liquid thickens up. You want “juice” to soak up with your corn bread.  No surprise to me, in our family this is called “LIQUOR”…
  3. Season with the salt and pepper. Then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally on low to medium heat until the greens are tender.

Serve with cornbread!

collard greens cooked

Basic Southern Black Eyed Pea Recipe


  • Around 3 cups of dried black eyed peas (sold in bags like pinto beans at the grocery store)
  • A big pot of water for rehydrating
  • Smoked ham hocks, bacon, ham… about 1/2 pound – it’s for taste
  • Water for cooking
  • Hot sauce like Louisiana Hot Sauce or Frank’s Hot Sauce (4-8 splashes is good for a kick)
  • An onion (optional)


  1. Wash your dried peas well.
  2. In a large stock pot, put the dried black eyed peas with cold water overnight to rehydrate. Black eyed peas will basically double in size to give a ballpark idea of the size pot needed.
  3. When ready to make black eyed peas the next day, pour off cold water. It is said this helps take the gas out of the beans, but you can’t prove that by me…
  4. Put the meat, onion and the black eyed peas in the pot with the water.  Beans should have a half inch or so of water above them as the water evaporates as they simmer. Add more water if needed.
  5. Splash in hot sauce if desired.
  6. Drop the heat down a little to a medium simmer.
  7. Let black eyed peas simmer along for an hour or so or until tender. Black eyed peas should be soft but not splitting open. The amount of time can vary with the stove and temperature. Black eyed peas are a good bac
    k burner dish as Southerners cook other parts of a meal.
Second Day Black Eyed Peas are Favorites for Some

Black eyed peas are good warmed over and have a thicker sauce the next day. The first day, black eyed peas are usually watery as far as the liquid (some serve them with slotted spoon), unless some of the black eyed peas are mashed in to act as a thickening agent. Some Southerners prefer the thinner sauce while others like it thick.

1st day or 2nd – Serve with cornbread!

BEPeas Cooked


The key to making good Southern Cornbread is in the pan. It has to be cast iron and it has to be HOT!  While you can make it in a baking pan or dish, it’s just not going to taste the same as made in a cast iron skillet. Something about that good old cast iron pan is the key.  It heats evenly, gets super hot and allows for enough air circulation so that the cornbread gets that crispy, crunchy crust which is the signature of Southern Cornbread.  (BONUS: the acquired iron in the cornbread makes your blood stronger!)

To make Southern Cornbread you’ll need:

  • 1 cup regular cornmeal (yellow is better)
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose white flour
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup of sugar (we like much less)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (or bacon grease)
  • 1 cup milk


  • 2 Tablespoons of oil in the pan rolled around to distribute it evenly.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (my mom says 500 but David just won’t go that high). You can go ahead and put the oil in the pan and stick that in the oven to heat while making the batter. Measure out the dry ingredients and mix them. In a mixing bowl, beat the liquids a bit. Now, add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir. At this point, you don’t want to stir a whole lot, or the bread will be tough. Just stir with a spoon or fork until the cornmeal lumps are broken up and mixed in.

The pan should be ready at this time – remember, it must be HOT. Take the pan out, pour in the batter (it should sizzle and hiss) and quickly roll it around carefully to spread the batter pretty evenly.

Stick the pan back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. 

To eat properly:

While still hot: Cut into wedges, slice one down the tender, internal middle and slather butter on it top and bottom.  I put about 3 tablespoons from one end to the other and close it up so it melts.  1st bite or two, just cornbread.  After that dunk in the bean and green liqueurs and make rapturous nummmmmy noises.


We use the 12-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe as we like it thinner and crunchy. If the pan is smaller, you may want to cut the ingredients down. If you’re using a bigger skillet, then that’s fine, but you’ll want to cook for a shorter time as the bread is not as thick.

This recipe is also good for muffins or for breadsticks. Both shapes also come in cast iron versions.

You can add hot peppers, cracklings, cheese, or diced onions to the batter, but we like it best plain and simple without any extras.


Now quick, clean your house, cook these up and have a prosperous and lucky 2011!

MaidenShade Selling Events: FOMOTC

October 15, 2010

This evening we sell! 

MaidenShade is only one of about 12 outside vendors chosen to participate at the FOMOTC (Florida Organization Mothers of Twins Club) convention.  It is being held at the Clearwater Beach Marriott on Sand Key from 4:30 to 6:30.

I am bringing my Faerie Boxes and Faerie Tale books, "Merry Meet", "Moth to a Flame", and "Fiddle Dee Dee" tapestries, ALL of my Night Lights, a couple of Lamps – my Bits and Bobs boxes and tiny Canvas works. 

Existing inventory items will be greatly discounted at these events, so those attending can get SUPER DEALS on their early holiday shopping purchases! 

Although tonight’s show is restricted to convention attendees, our next event is at the Safety Harbor Community Center, November 14 (from noon to 5) and EVERYONE is invited!  Come meet Mr. and Mrs. MaidenShade and get a jump start on Christmas gift shopping – our wares make great pressies ♥
http://maidenshade.comAine-Complete-KitFaerie Boxes $157 / $120 (complete Fae Attractant Kit)
Merry Meet $150 / $120
3 Moth Layout
Moth to a Flame $150 / $120http://maidenshade.comFiddle Dee Dee $115 / $65
http://maidenshade.comhttp://maidenshade.comMeowleleuia $40 /$30 
Owlette $45 / $35
HoliDolls $49.95 /$40
MaidenShade’s Auction Donation: Floribunda Lamp – A $75 value!
Ode to Joy $37 /$30http://maidenshade.comThese Art Night Lights are $37 / $30 each
http://maidenshade.comhttp://maidenshade.comAriel $28 / $23
By Waters Edge $37 / $25
Blue Bird
$37 / $27
Bits ‘n’ Bobs $25
Mermaid Tin $15 /$8
Joy $25 (5 x 7, acrylic on canvas)
Bow & Lace $15 (2 3/4 x 3 3/4, acrylic on canvas includes easel)