Welcome to Sweet Memories

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A gingerbread house tutorial.....

So.....sharpen those pencils and grab some paper....class is in session!! I want to share all of my experience in the art of gingerbread house construction....because I really, really want you to make one of your own!

I have been making gingerbread houses for well over thirty years...so I have learned a trick or two! And, believe me, there are lots of tips to help make your adventure successful!

So.....let's get started!

First of all.....I have lots and lots of ideas on my Pinterest page. Yes....they are rather advanced....but ideas are really important. And it is the best place to start. I have found....after years and years of teaching classes and workshops....that most people think they can't do this. But, once they get started, they realize that not only CAN they do it....but that they are pretty good at it! Usually the first hurdle is not knowing where to start. And, usually, that first hurdle can be eliminated with a few good ideas!!

The next big element for success is good recipes. I have perfected this dough recipe, over the years, and can guarantee it will work for you!

1/2 cup margarine.                                 1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup sugar.                                         1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking powder.                     1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda.                      1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.                         3 cups flour

Beat the margarine and sugar together. Add spices, then molasses. Add baking powder and soda. Beat in the egg. Add vinegar. Add flour. Wrap the dough in platinum wrap and refrigerate overnight.

*Refrigerating the dough is very important. It will be much easier to work with if it's cold.
*I strongly recommend making the house as a decoration. I cannot imagine doing all of this work and then eating it!! It should be put front and center and then admired!! Now, having said that, there are a couple of little tips. Add spices....like double or triple the amount in the recipe. It will make your whole house smell a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!! The combination of sugar (icing and candy) and spice....just heaven!!
*use parchment paper to, actually, roll and cut the pieces out. You don't want to move them once they have been cut because they will become misshapen and then the pieces will not line up when you put them together!
*when designing the basic house shape remember...you need two sides, two ends (with a peak for the roof to rest on) and two roof pieces. There are all kinds of patterns for the basic house (Google it) or you can design your own if you are feeling ambitious!
*Bake the pieces "hard". Being a professional baker it isn't easy for me to recommend practically "burning" any kind of dough (don't, actually, burn it...please!!) but....the more moisture you remove from the pieces....the sturdier the house will be! Another really good reasons NOT to eat it!!
*Use meringue powder (and the recipe included on the top of the can...) for the icing. It is foolproof and you don't have to worry about ingesting it when you absentmindedly lick your fingers....which you WILL do!! Don't rush the assembly. Let the icing dry thoroughly before you do any decorating!! The candy adds a lot of weight...and you don't want any disasters!!
*It is not necessary to buy fancy pastry bags...disposable bags are great!
*It is much easier to draw the doors and windows....and any other details....on the walls BEFORE you assemble the house...but make sure they are dry before you handle the pieces!
*Give a lot of thought to the kind of candy or cookies or cereal (Golden Grahams look like tiles....frosted mini wheats look like they are snow covered!!) you want to use for the roof....it is the majority of the decorated space, on the house, and will set the tone for the whole thing!

Once you complete the basics....it's time to let your imagination run wild! Landscaping, decorations, porches, chimneys, steps, fences, gates.....the sky is the limit! And....just to let you know...I ordered all kinds of great candy just for gingerbread house decoration!! So....stop in and see us....and get everything you need!!

I hope you start this awesome tradition!! If you have any questions along the way....feel free to ask me!!! Good Luck....and have FUN!!!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The gingerbread tradition.....

I say it every year....once the first of September arrives....life is a roller coaster! Time goes SO fast....and, even though I have a ton of things that I want to tell you...want to blog about....there just aren't enough hours in a day!

I am planning a tutorial about gingerbread houses. I have given this a lot of thought...and decided that, in order to do it "right", I need to break this up into more than one blog post.

I started this tradition when my kids were little. We always decorated the house on Christmas Eve. That probably sounds crazy...I mean, don't we all have "too much" to do on Christmas Eve?? But, to the little ones, it can be the longest day of the year!! It was always a fun, much anticipated, use of Christmas excitement energy. And helped to make the day go "faster"!

It is such an important tradition in our family that, years and years ago, I decided to teach the art of gingerbread house construction so that it could be part of lots of people's traditions! We held SO many classes, over the years....and I built SO MANY houses!! When I started the classes...I went through all of the steps. Making the dough, designing the house, cutting out the pieces, baking them off, making the icing (super important!!) and constructing the house. But....eventually...it became very obvious that my students were far more interested in decorating than constructing. And it became more of a workshop than a class! (Yes....we were WAY ahead of the trends...and had classes and workshops before they were everywhere!!)

Here, however, I am going to walk you through ALL of the steps....and I am going to pass along all of the tips and techniques that I have learned and perfected over the years. There are lots of ways to make this a fun, stress free project. And I want you to come to love this tradition as much as we do!

So....come back soon (I hope!!!) and we will start at the beginning! Just as a "heads up"...I have ordered all kinds of AMAZING candy to decorate your creation and I will be "getting it out" soon! Stop in to Sweet Memories before you go looking anywhere else!! And....I have been pinning ideas like CrAzY!! Go check out my gingerbread house Pinterest Board and start to get some ideas!!

Oh....this is going to be fun!!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

All kinds of exciting things.....

What a difference a week makes!

Last week we had the air conditioners running....let me tell you...it makes it really difficult to get into the Christmas spirit and I NEED to do that, right now!

I love Fall and Halloween so much that, even getting my thoughts to jump ahead to Christmas is a bit of a challenge...but when the weather outside is Summer-like...it's almost impossible!

Luckily....the weather is cooperating now. AND.....our candy cane order came in (yup....those chocolate filled delights that you all wait for!!) and there is a new flavor, this year....it's milk and cookies! Chocolate cookie cream filled and the candy cane itself is vanilla!!! There was a broken one when we opened the box...so we had to try it...(Awww...such a tough job!!) and they are AWESOME!!!!!

We, also, got an order from a new company....and I am really pleased and excited with what I ordered! I think you will be, too!

I am expecting the rest of our Christmas candy to come in this week.....always one of my favorite shipments! I ordered all kinds of great candy! As always....wonderful stocking stuffers and gifts....but ALSO....all kinds of fantastic candy to decorate your gingerbread houses!!

Now....just in case you have never made one before...I want to let you know that I am going to be posting a little "how to" right here on the blog! We (me, my kids and even my Grandson!!!) have been making them for years and years. A long time ago...I started my "teaching career" with gingerbread house classes. I know how much everyone misses those classes...so I thought I would do a little "teaching" on here! There are a bunch of tips and tricks that will help you to be successful....I want your experience to be positive! Then....you can add gingerbread house making to your family traditions, too!!

Well.....now that I am "in the Christmas mood" there will be some progress to report about the "Gingerbread and Candy Canes Marketplace" (aka the shops upstairs!!) I know you are all excited to start your shopping...and, now that Mother Nature has turned off the heat pump....I am excited, too!!

Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The big day is HERE!!!!

It's here, it's here....the BIG day is here!!!

Today is the day that we will reopen the gift shop and let you see what we have been up to!!

These past weeks have just "flown" by (hahaha....get it??) I have had a moment or two of doubt. Doubt about my decision to change things so drastically. Doubt about actually being able to get it all done. But.....those doubts were few, and they are long gone!!

The gift shops look like I have always wanted them to look.....the displays are exactly what I had "in my head"....and the merchandise selection is well on it's way to being EXACTLY what I want to offer!!

We accomplished everything on our list. We had a list of renovations to do.....painting, building...refreshing.....done. We had a list of handmade goodies that we wanted to present to you....they all got done, too!! I have a great selection of antiques and vintage wares.....and a great selection of "new" merchandise, too.

It will only get better as time goes on. We will have even more time to "make" things, more time to find amazing vintage and antique treasures.....and my "new merchandise" selections will be even more focused and awesome!!!

We have "explained" this new way of doing things a LOT over the last month plus....and I know it's a really different concept. But.....let's be honest here.....you have come to expect the unexpected from us!! Sweet Memories, and the family that owns it, is about as unique and special as it gets!! Trust me. Hang in there....eventually this "new way" of doing things will be second nature. And....each and every time you shop, upstairs, will be exciting. Every new season will bring treasures that will make you happy. I promise!

I know I am excited. Excited for the opportunity to give you the Sweet Memories experience! An experience you just can't get anywhere else!!

Doors open at 10:00......and we can't wait to see you!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Good Morning all of you trendsetters!!

Yes....you read that correctly....you all are trendsetters.

While, under normal circumstances, I don't care much about what the latest trends are....I can get on board with this one...mostly because we have BEEN on board with this one for 21 years!

So....what is this "new" trend?? To spend your time and money on experiences rather than just "stuff".

All of you have joined us for the Sweet Memories experience from the beginning!! And we are more than just an experience....we are an experience with benefits!! You can go skydiving, zip lining or mountain climbing....but when you come in and visit with us....you leave full, with goodies from the bakery and a few new treasures from the shop!!

And THAT experience....is going to be better than ever!!

Right now.....the upstairs looks like a train wreck! But.....we are making amazing progress (considering we are working in the middle of a train wreck!! 😉) and my vision is coming to fruition!! I must say....when the paint first started to cover the walls....I had a moment (or 6) of doubt.....but....not any more!! It is looking great and I can't wait to show it to you!!

So, so many of you have been asking about our plans and have shown so much excitement and anticipation.....even making your lunch reservations for our open house dates!! For this....I thank you!! This renovation has been a lot of work....and it's all I think about. And, I KNOW the new format will take some getting used to....but everyday that I spend on this project just makes me even more sure that I made the right decision.

Just a little over three weeks to go....and you are going to have a wonderful experience!! I mean...no zip lines....but wonderful just the same!! 😜 Thank you for sticking by us.....and for being the trendsetters that you are!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A little update.....

I thought I would give you a little update on what's been happening, this week.....the first week without the gift shop!!

Well...first...everyone has stopped thinking we were closing the whole place. That's a good thing. I must say... I am still baffled as to how that piece of misinformation was derived from the post.

Moving on....

Second....there has been some backlash. It was expected...this was not the first time I have made major changes in our long history....and most people don't like change. But, from a business standpoint, change is not only necessary it is essential. Static and boring are not words you want people to use when they describe you!!

You are just going to have to trust me....you are going to LOVE what we are doing....I know I do!! And, while you won't be able to go upstairs and browse everyday of the week....we still have a great selection of treasures scattered throughout the downstairs! Plenty to look at...plenty to buy!

Now....a little sneak peek into what we have been up to.

Hmmm.....I don't want to give any secrets away and spoil the surprise.

Well....let's just say...we are about to get very friendly with brushes and cans....I have been threading my needle...a LOT...(I forgot how much I enjoy sewing!! 😉) my husband has been refinishing and building, the vintage stash is growing....and Fall and Halloween 2016 are going to be AWESOME!!!!!!!

I know it's not what you're used to....but, let's be honest, is ANYTHING at Sweet Memories like anyone else's.......nope!! That's why you love us!! 😊 And right back at ya!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The FUN, new shop.......

Halloween....is fun!

It is one of my favorite Holidays....okay, let's be honest...ALL Holidays are my favorite....but, Fall and Halloween certainly rank right up there!

I get very excited about picking out the merchandise that I am going to carry in our gift shops. I know all of you do, too. It is, without question, one of the most anticipated times of the year, at Sweet Memories!

I have so many ideas....so many things that I want to do....displays that I want to set up...but, frankly, there isn't enough time.

My husband and I go to the shop early (very!!!) on the Monday that I deem "roll-it-all-over-to-the -next-Holiday" Monday and work for, about, 14 hours. We move furniture, clean, "base decorate" (like lighting and, in the case of Halloween, spider webs....Christmas would be snow...etc.) then start to unpack all of the goodies that have been coming in for months. I have big plans and lots of vision....until we hit hour number 10 (or earlier!!) and my energy level hits the floor. I never, actually, make it all I want it to be.

I hear....constantly....that we have the best displays and the most wonderful, unique, merchandise (and....thank you for that!!!! ☺️) but, lately especially, I feel a little like a fraud when you say it. I KNOW what I WANTED those displays to look like....and I, also, know that, while I love the merchandise that I am picking out, I want to offer more.

Now....none of this is new. It has been a "problem" for quite a while. Actually....there are a bunch of problems all rolled into one. I have been searching for solutions. I have had many, many conversations with myself and the only answer is adding more hours to the day! Since that is not, actually, doable....I started kicking this new idea around!

We are going to create a "Marketplace".

Here....I will give you the "official" tag line:
   "Black Cats And Candycorn Marketplace"
                A Gathering of Vintage, and New, Fall and Halloween Treasures

We are going to have our "Open House" on September 8, 9, 10 & 11. After that...the Marketplace hours (and ONLY the upstairs Marketplace....this in NO WAY changes the hours of operation in the restaurant or bakery!!!!!!!!) will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday until the middle of October. (I will give these dates many, many, many times...)

Basically....this solution does, in fact, add hours to my day. Instead of trying to do everything in one day....I will have weeks. And...since I won't have to worry about keeping the upstairs full everyday...all year long....I can be even "pickier" about what we carry! And....since the day to day operations, up there, won't occupy my every waking moment...I will have some time to make stuff!!! I will, also, have time to "hunt" for vintage treasures!!!! My husband will, also, have time to make stuff! And....we can actually HAVE an open house!! With all that that entails!!! Can you tell that I am excited??

Circle those dates on your calendar....right now....while you are thinking about it!! I know this is a pretty big change....but it will be amazing!


Monday, July 18, 2016

Big changes...awesome changes!!

I think I am ready to tell you my news!!

I told you that changes were coming....now I would like to tell you what that means!

We are going back to our roots....more or less. So....what am I talking about?

When we first bought our farmhouse....it needed a lot of work. A LOT! There is no better way to learn than by doing! Sure....you have to know when a project is out of your "ability zone" (heaters, big electrical projects, big plumbing projects....) but...if you just make up your mind that you are going to tackle something...you learn all kinds of things!!

You have a mountain to climb....start climbing!!

Not only have we learned all kinds of skills...we have learned that we have all kinds of "talents". I have presented more than one idea for a project....and my husband has delivered exactly what I wanted! He has become quite a woodworker! I think if you had told him that would be the case, when he was just a young lad, he would have laughed at you!! But necessity is a great motivator!

It is what motivated me to start what would, eventually, become Sweet Memories. I did custom baking so that I could be a full time Mom. It worked beautifully! One year I even got it in my head that I would have a "pop up" Christmas show right in our home! We cleared out all of the furniture and made EVERYTHING ourselves...by hand! Ornaments and decorations...wood, fabric, salt dough....it took us months and months to have enough "inventory"! Now....you need to understand that this happened WAY before it was such a thing. We are talking like 25 years ago!! It was an incredible amount of work....but it was very well attended and I was thrilled with how successful it was!!

I think you can see that the foundation for our, current, business was in the works....but, especially recently, I have been feeling like we are drifting away from where I would like to be.

I love....LOVE....home, my family, holidays....everything that makes life special (even more so with the world the way it is right now!!) I love to decorate my home and make it a place of comfort and security....and make it exude charm!! I love to look for all of the treasures it takes to make it perfect....and I love the fact that it takes years to gather all of those things! I love all of the memories that have been created...and the "things" that bring those memories back!!

My goal, when I started Sweet Memories, was to create all of that for our customers. We create a special menu for each and every service. Sometimes....we "miss the mark" as far as some are concerned. No....we don't serve breakfast...or have chicken fingers for the kids....but that is intentional. We want to stand out....be special! (Thankfully....99.9 % of you wonderful people not only "get it" but love us for it!! And....let's be honest....you are the ones that matter!)

My goal, for the gift shops, was to give you a fantastic collection of unique and special treasures. For you, your home...to give as gifts...and, while I believe we have been successful, it's just not "good enough" as far as I am concerned! I have had to give quite a bit of my "creative control" away....there just aren't enough hours in the day to keep up with the baking (thank you!! 😊) and do all that I would like to do in the shops! I, also, have become very dependent on "companies" for merchandise. Don't get me wrong....most of the companies I use are based right here in America and their products are awesome....but I want more! I want the shops to exude the same charm that I strive for in my own home....and, in order to get that done, I have to be the one to do it!

So....we will be "closing" the shops at the end of July. No....we are not closing them permanately! We are going to take our time and create the kind of Fall and Halloween experience that I have always wanted to give you! We will have a "big reveal" open house kind of thing....and then, limited, shopping hours for the remainder of the season. Then....we will "close" again....and I am going to create the kind of Christmas experience that I have always wanted to give you! We are going back to our roots. There will be vintage and handmade....one of a kind charm that you will love forever!

Obviously....there is a lot more to this and I will keep you posted!

Just know that we always strive to be the best us we can be....and making you happy is what we do!! This is going to be different.....but AWESOME!! And we are thrilled to have you come along for the ride!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The winds of change.....

 So.....how do you feel about change??

Personally....I like it.

I change wall colors, furniture placement....I have even changed room purposes once or twice!

I am, practically, "famous" for all of the changes at the shop. I hear "oh...you changed things" all day long!! We change the menu every week..and the offerings in the bakery case can, and often DO, change hourly!!

Changing things keeps them interesting and fresh. And, sometimes, changes are just necessary.

I, recently, changed the color of this hutch. I am not sure I am "done" with it...I may distress it a little. I do love the creamy, buttery yellow...I am living with it. I will "know" what else needs to be done to it...if anything else does.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A little glimpse....

I am a little late this week....sorry! I was trying to decide which story to tell next!! Hahaha.......

It's, actually, not that easy!! I have many more stories to share about my grandmother and the influence she had on me. However....I, also, really wanted to share a little bit of the hard work I have been doing in our "home makeover"!! And, really, it's all connected anyway!!

One of the things that was in the back of my mind when we started all of these projects was finding a place....a really special place....for all of the heirlooms she trusted me with. Me being me....I can't just stick it all somewhere and hope it looks okay. I LOVE to collect things I love...and I love to decorate with them even more!! I make little "stories" with my displays. There is always a lot going on within the display, itself....but they are "contained"....they have "borders"....so my house never feels overwhelming. I know that one of the current trends is minimalist. But not in my house!!

Minimal "things" is equivalent to no personality, as far as I am concerned. One look around our home....and it is very easy to see my personality!! But.....one look just isn't enough!! You will miss some amazing stuff that way!!

There are some collections that are represented in every room. Children's antique gardening tools, for example. I find that they lend themselves to many different stories. They "belong" with my birdhouses....AND my Easter bunnies. Then there are other collections that are grouped together in one area....for example my nursery rhyme collection.....more on that in another blog!!

This picture is in our bedroom. The little teal chair...is LITTLE!! My grandmother had a "thing" for chairs and she gave me a couple small children's chairs. She called them "Sunday School" chairs. That was the beginning. I, now, have more than 10 scattered here and there all over the house!! They hold Santa, bunnies, pumpkins.....and, this particular chair, is holding some very important heirlooms! The picture, on the chair, is of my great-grandmother.....my MomMom's mother. She is holding one of her siblings. The little dish, in front of the picture, was my great great grandmothers!!

I know a lot of families have pieces that were handed down through the generations....but my great grandmother died, from the influenza epidemic, when my MomMom was only three. She....and all of her sisters...grew up in an orphanage. So...the fact that there is ANYTHING is a pretty big deal....and the fact that she gave these important things to me to take care of....well...you can see why I am taking it so seriously!!

There are some other things, mixed into this display, that meant a lot to her....see those little ceramic bunnies?? I painted them for her when I was 6. She took very good care of them....through all of their moves....and, eventually, gave them back to me!!

I decided these things would keep company with my child's hutch and my collection of antique children's bakeware. I love how this looks...and the story it tells!!

I know it's a lot of work to keep up with...and it all needs to be dusted....but I get to look at this, every morning, and smile....and think of her!! It's worth it!!

Like I said....I don't "get" the minimalist thing!!

More to come.....so stay tuned!!!!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Little pieces of the past....

When my Grandparents bought the house in Zionsville I loved spending the weekends there. The creek babbled right outside the door....there were woods and fields....lots and lots to do! We had many family gatherings there...holidays and sledding parties!

But....when we moved down that dirt road in the middle of fields and woods, it was a different story!

The place we were moving from was a small neighborhood in a small town. While there were only a few houses, all of them had kids....and we were all pretty close in age. We did everything together. The small town was close enough (well....not by today's standards but....) that we could walk or ride our bikes. We lived along a really busy road so we had to go "get" the mail at a private school that was, relatively, nearby. I still remember the post office box number and our combination to open it!!

When we moved "up here" (Bucks County is still "down home"!!) it was a whole new ball game! There were neighbors...sort of! One family lived about a mile in one direction....and the rest of them (with kids) were...well...antisocial! All of a sudden I found myself in the position of having to entertain...me!!

One summer...with the help and encouragement of my MomMom...I decided to make a quilt. Yes....a quilt. I have never believed in limitations. Hahaha! Luckily, not only was she "on board" with helping me....so was our elderly but "totally capable of doing "mans work" neighbor", Mrs Snyder! She could work...physically....you know, mowing, stacking wood, riding the tractor...WORK....all day long. But, up in their little attic, she had a quilt frame that was, pretty much, always holding a quilt. Her stitches were so tiny and perfect!! It was amazing!!

Once a quilt is in the frame...you, basically, work on it here and there....when you have a little time! MomMom and I spent quite a bit of time, up in that attic, but....I think Mrs. Snyder logged way more hours than we did! She, actually, logged the hours when she made one! She could tell you...that one
 took 203 hours, that one took 198. And, yes, that's how much work goes into one of these pieces of art!!

I fell in love with quilts that Summer (and well into that Winter....again...that IS how long it takes!!) and I still love them!! That's one of the reasons it was SO hard for me to cut into the one I used to redo my rocking chair (see last week's blog!!!) and brings me to my next subject!!

I have been working on pillows!! I, recently, completed all of the ones in this picture. They are all made from old, beautiful quilt pieces....that someone ELSE cut!! It has been really special to work with pieces of the past...pieces that someone else put so much love into creating!! I feel like I have given them a new life and I am super excited to get to do that!! I still have some pieces left from the quilt I used for my chair...so I am going to make some small pillows and sell them at the shop!! I would love for YOU to love them, too!

I will let you know as soon as they are done!!

Have a great Monday...and Happy Summer!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

The chair......

I thought we would take a little detour from my stories....to tell you another story!!

Actually....I wanted to show you my rocking chair!!! Hahaha....and it, too, comes with a story!!

I have had this chair most of my life! When we were living in my MomMom's "weekend" house....and getting closer to the completion of the one we were building....the yard sale hunting began!! This chair was a yard sale find!

It was "made over" all of those years ago to match my new bedroom...and has been with me ever since!

Not only has it been with me....it has been made over time after time after time....and now....it has been made over again!!

I, unfortunately, was SO excited to get this project started....I totally forgot to take any before pictures!!  I will do my best to paint a mental picture for you....

The wicker is in perfect condition. That is saying something....because it usually is not!! The seat
 "cushion" comes out....but it is no "regular" seat cushion. It has springs and metal inside and it weighs a TON!! The back is, also, full of springs and stuff to make it more comfortable. But...from years of wear and tear...both of those cushions needed a bit of TLC. This last time...it was a very dark green with a khaki colored check patterned material on the seat and back. But....it has been yellow...and white...and has had many different materials on the cushions. You would think....because I have made it over so many times....that it is an easy job!! Well....it's NOT!!! All of the sewing, on the seat cushion, has to be done by hand....and that beast of a cushion has to be in my lap the whole time!!

I got the idea into my head that I wanted to recover it with an old quilt. Now....this, alone, was a HUGE "thing"!!! I am a quilt lover....LOVER!! I know all about the time and work that goes into them...(more about all of that in another "story"!!) and I just love to look at them!! The creativity and artistry is just amazing!! Now....knowing this....and knowing ME....would I be able to bring myself to "cut" (ahhhhhhh!!!) a quilt apart??? But....I couldn't get the idea out of my head. It's what I wanted!! SO....I spent hours and hours on Etsy and EBay looking for "cutter" quilts. Cutter quilts are quilts with issues...damage that exists (that I had nothing to do with!) that makes it "okay" (????) to cut it apart!! But...at the same time...I needed enough "good" parts to cover the chair!! I finally found "the one" and ordered it!! I loved the colors and the idea that the star burst would be right in the middle of the back.

And then....it arrived! Oh....the hours and hours and hours of work! All of those tiny little pieces of fabric...cut and sewn together...by hand! Those tiny, tiny stitches!!! It was, already, cut. Someone had taken a pretty good strip off of both sides. I can only assume there was damage. My head was saying...it's okay...it's going to be given new life and a place of honor!! My heart, on the other hand, said....just fold it up and love it the way it is!!!

I stripped all of the old fabric off....and painted the wicker this amazing red. And then...the moment of truth. I grabbed my wonderful, made for fabric and fabric alone, scissors....and made my mind focus on the job....and NOT the quilt....and started to cut!! I am SO glad that I did!!!!

I added new padding to the seat....and new filling and webbing to the back. There is new fabric (old-fashioned looking red and white ticking) on the underside of the seat cushion...and the backside of the  "back"....because I didn't want to "waste" any of the quilt on parts that you couldn't see. I have enough left to make something....or maybe even several somethings...I will keep you posted!

I am so excited and happy about this make over....and about preserving so many pieces of the past....mine and whoever made this beautiful quilt!

Sweet Memories....for sure!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

And the story continues....

Although they moved....a lot....every house, my Grandparents lived in, was home.

Actually, both of my Grandmothers had a real talent for making you feel comfortable, happy, well fed....and at home!! Lessons that would, later, help me establish our business!

There were two houses that had the most influence on me. One was in Ivyland, Bucks County....the other in Zionsville.

The house in Ivyland was a split level on a nice chunk of property. There was a barn...and a horse named "Snowball" that I fell off of...(my cousins fault...and no....I am not a big horse person!!) an in ground swimming pool (which they used...but, eventually filled in!!!?????) a fountain out front and a big screened in "3 season porch" with a barbecue (it shared the chimney with the living room fireplace on the other side of the wall!) and three walls of windows! Many, many, many family gatherings in that room!! I watched her make lemon meringue pie and stew rhubarb in the kitchen....and tried mackerel on toast (which I liked??!!) and pretzels in chocolate ice cream! I spent many a night in the George Washington bedroom (there were pictures, above the bed, of George and Martha) and lots of time in the house!

The house in Zionsville was a "weekend" home. I am not sure it started out that way....but MomMom loved that house!! There were more "improvements" done to that house than they usually did, when they planned to re-sell. A new furnace, a new bathroom, the steps were rebuilt and they built an upstairs porch. There were 18 acres that went along with that house....and a row of peach trees at the top of the hill. It had a small barn...an outhouse, a big bell on a post and the creek ran right along the front of the property. The whole front of the house was an enclosed porch...and this little piece of Pennsylvania Dutch "wisdom" was hanging to the right of the door....so you could see it as you left!!

That house was an even bigger influence on me...and the me that I would become....than the house in Ivyland. I learned to love birds, gardening, antiques, history, quilts....even cats....in Zionsville. (We, actually, lived in that house while our new house was being built.) I watched her make peach jam, bake Christmas cookies and learned that I really liked mustard on ham sandwiches and birch beer!

We had many, many family gatherings in that house, too....and I watched the preparations and work involved in entertaining large groups.....in, relatively, small spaces! Again....some training for the future!! Are you starting to see where Sweet Memories was born!!???

That little piece of Pennsylvania Dutch wisdom is hanging on our walk-in fireplace, in our kitchen.....and it's just the beginning of what I want to share with you! Just like this story is just beginning!!

"come again...if you're here sometime" and stay tuned for the next installment!!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Let's start at the beginning.......

I thought it would be a good idea to start this story at the beginning....well....MY beginning anyway!

Everyone has someone in their lives that influences them more than anyone else. That person, for me, was my Grandmother. "MomMom" to me...that's her on the left! If you are among our most faithful....and have been coming in to Sweet Memories for any length of time....you will remember her sitting and adding her art work to the bags!!

Just about everything I do...and every interest I have...is because of my MomMom. But more about that in another post.

My Grandparents (that's my PopPop on the right....and they are in front of a train. He LOVED trains!! Even though they never met...I am pretty sure that is where my oldest Grandson got HIS love of trains!!! I think we "pass along" much, much more than our facial features!!!) anyway....my Grandparents "flipped" houses long before anyone knew what that meant! They would go to estate
sales...auctions where the house contents and then, ultimately, the house itself were sold. I found
myself at many of these sales. I was too young to really understand what was happening....but I
would be on a blanket, under a tree with something to occupy myself (coloring books....not electronic devices...no one knew about those either!!) until all of the "box lots", household goods, tools and furniture were sold to the highest bidder. Because of all of that time under the tree I am pretty good at understanding auctioneers. And...yes....one time I "accidentally" (had my hand in the air at the wrong time!!) bought something!!

Once that was all done...they would sell the property. More often than not....my Grandfather would buy it. Now....these "flips" were not like the ones you watch on HGTV!! There was no "gutting", no "demo", no wall removal!! He would inspect the properties beforehand...and only bought them if it just needed a little TLC. They would go in and paint (still the BEST way to change any house!) work on the outside....pull weeds, prune, plant flowers. Do some minor repairs...fix broken windows, oil hinges etc. Periodically call in a plumber or electrician....but nothing major. Then....they would sell the house and buy another! Now and again...he would buy rental properties, too.

Now....the result of all of this?? Houses were "business". There wasn't any sentimental attachment to the places that they "flipped"....or the houses that they lived in, either!! I remember 5 different houses just in MY history....and stories of even more than that! I know that my Grandfather considered the properties....and, often, the contents....to be potential profits to be re-invested elsewhere. But I have a sneaky suspicion that my Grandmother didn't always see it that way!

I know that at least two of the five houses held a special place in her heart. I also know that at least some of the "contents" did, too. I know that because....I have most of it!! I have things that she collected, I have things that were family mementos, I have things that were given to her and things that she made, I have books and pictures.....and pictures, and pictures!!

I feel really honored that she gave all of these important things to me and I am taking this responsibility seriously. I have always taken really good care of all of it....but now, with all of the transformations we are doing in our home, I am incorporating it and finding it all a "home"!!

I think she would be very happy!!

There is a lot more to this story.... I'll be back soon!!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Slowly....slowly....getting there!!


We are....slowly....getting things accomplished. The key word here is slowly!!

We are getting a new shed. The shed is my husband's domain. Just like the inside of the house is mine!! It is where he makes...well....magic!!

I come up with all kinds of ideas....and he builds them...makes them happen!!

But....he needed a new, better, bigger, happier place to work! So....we are getting a new shed. However....there have been problems! It came on a huge truck...and went right into place without a hitch....until he saw the roof trusses. They were the wrong shape!! Luckily...after a few "unhappy" conversations....the shed company said they would "fix" it. Unfortunately....it is not an easy...or quick...fix!!

Now...all of that is stressful enough. But, during the "transformation", all of the contents of the old shed have been scattered all over the place!! We have all kinds of things under huge very, very blue tarps, in our basement, the basement at the shop....our daughter's shed...and my "she shed" pool house. Needless to say...It is hindering everything. But today is the day! They are coming to build the roof...the right roof...and THEN we will be able to get things back to normal!!

I am super excited about that for all of the obvious reasons....but also because then we can start to tick off the many, many projects on our to-do list!! I am planning on showing you all of those projects....including all of the ones I have been working on inside the house! I, also, want to share some stories with you...the memories that I have been working so hard to incorporate in my decor.

I don't think we are the next Chip and Joanna....but I am proud of our home! All of the stories and pictures will give some insight into our shop, too! Why we do what we do...the way we do it!

Hopefully you will come back for story time!!!

I am going to go outside and take a "before" picture of the shed....(as my Grandson said...."it's beautiful...well except for the roof"!!! Hahaha).....then I will show all the stages of "after" that we are planning! After all...we have to customize it....make it more "us"!!!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Finding a place for memories....

Hello....and Happy May!

Under normal circumstances all I can think about, this time of year, is my gardens....but normal circumstances do not apply, this year!!

While I AM thinking about my gardens....I am, also, obsessed with a multitude of projects IN the house!

It's an odd combination of needing to be organized, finding purpose for the various spaces in the house, wanting every nook and cranny to be pretty....and taking care of the past!

I know, for a lot of parents, the whole "empty nest" thing can be traumatic. But....all of my kids are settled and happy....and that's all that really matters. They can't live with you forever....they need to find their own "nests"...and that's a good thing!

However....sometimes they leave quite a few belongings behind....after all....Mom and Dad have a big attic....so there is a "sorting" process that takes a little time. And...when you own a small business and don't HAVE that much time...it takes even longer!

From the very first time we set foot in our home....in spite of all that it DIDN'T have going for it....I knew what I wanted it to be. I knew what it COULD be! I have, always, concentrated on the first floor when it came to decorating....the "public" floor. The upstairs was full of toys and books....clothes and shoes....jewelry and collections....music and electronic equipment! The kids had their spaces...even if it was short term. But, eventually, their "lease" was up....and those spaces became mine...(well....except for the room devoted to my grandson's toys and trains!)

I have started from scratch....with the paint colors....exactly where I started with the downstairs! Bit by bit....and we still have painting to do....we are finding the "groove"...color pallets that are making me happy! And....bit by bit....I am finding that decorating upstairs (even if no one EVER sees anything I do!!!) is just as exciting as decorating downstairs!

When I decorate...I tell a story. I have pieces that I have collected over the years....as well as many, many pieces that I have been trusted to take care of....and I put them all together in little displays that make you want to really study each object. Many of my favorite decorations have history. Some of the history is someone else's story.....and some of it is mine! I have many, many treasured collections and pieces of the past....my past....that were entrusted to me.

Just about everything I hold near and dear was given to me by my MomMom. Antiques and family heirlooms as well as hobbies and interests. In the process of re-claiming the upstairs portion of our home....I am finding a permanent place for memories!

I am going to try to find a few minutes....in between painting and sewing and gardening....to show you some of my projects....and tell a few stories, too! After all of this hard work....I want someone to see the results!!

Stay tuned....

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spring fever...or just plain crazy???

I think it's safe to say that Spring has arrived! And I am pretty excited about that!

I know this Winter could have been worse (if you can, somehow, forget about that blizzard!!) but it seemed to drag on longer than usual!

This time of year my OUTSIDE to-do list is always very long...but I have managed to get myself in a real pickle, this year. Not only are all of my outside chores and projects calling me....but I have started about 15 INSIDE projects that all need to be finished, too!

I got this bright idea to re-paint our kitchen cabinets. And, right around the same time, I was inspired to do a little makeover in our upstairs bathroom. Well....that turned into a little more than a LITTLE makeover....I painted furniture in addition to all of the walls and woodwork. And then....I was so excited with how well the kitchen cabinets turned out....I decided that the kitchen needed a new paint job, too! And....I was so excited with how well the furniture in the bathroom turned out that I thought I would paint a few more pieces!!

Now....just about every room in the house is upside down...waiting for one, two....or seven...projects to get done....and my garden is wondering where I am!! Luckily....for my "guilt-o-mometer" it has been cold, wet and/or very windy every Monday since "Spring" arrived....but, I think that is about to come to an end!

This, probably, wouldn't be any big deal if I weren't SO type A....and if our home weren't such a sanctuary. I NEED it to be clean and organized....and pretty.....and warm and welcoming....at all
times! It is what keeps me sane in this crazy, fast paced, pressure filled life that I have created.

So....how about you? Do you have a few (hundred????) Spring projects on your to-do list? If so....what are you planning??

I will try to post some pictures as we accomplish things....I'm sure there are plenty of other people, out there, who love to look at fun before and after DIY projects....maybe there are even a few other people who have over extended themselves!! Seriously....please tell me I am not the only one!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I can't believe Easter is behind us. Part of the reason may be because it came so early....while the weather seems to be cooperating and it feels like Spring....I'm not sure my "inner clock" was ready!

The whole Holiday turned out to be somewhat of a challenge, this year!

About a week or so before Easter our refrigerator (at home) started making a strange "buzzing" sound. It was short lived (at first) but...something we kept an eye (or ear) on...at least to the best of our ability since we aren't really home much!! I put a thermometer inside and kept a watchful eye....but, pretty quickly, it became obvious that someone needed to take a look at it!

That, however, turned out to be quite the challenge! We called many, many different places and no one seemed to have the time to come out and take a look!! After the first couple of phone calls....my husband started to describe the noise it was making and ask for "professional opinions" as to the likelihood of it's survival. The thinking here being that, perhaps, we would just be better off, not only getting a new one, but that getting a new one would be FASTER than getting someone to come out and look at our old one!!

As it turns out....that was not the case!

Our refrigerator was in ICU....but the decision to end it's life came after a very, very long Saturday (Easter pick up day at the shop!!!) when I said....just pull the plug!!!! Now....I, characteristically, always look on the bright side. It is a really, really good thing that we own a restaurant and not a furniture store!! All of our food could go in the refrigerator at the shop!! However.....preparing a Holiday meal without a refrigerator.....was a challenge!!!!!!!!!

The good news...the new one (which could NOT be delivered any faster than having a repairman come out and look at the old one!!) is in it's new home! And....we survived!

I have never been one to back down from a challenge. In fact....I have been known to be a little obsessed by them. I NEED to find solutions....I am a "fixer"!! (Are there support groups for this?)

I must say, though, that I would prefer not to be THAT challenged when I am, already, dealing with the challenges that come with every Holiday!! As is the norm....I had to make "a call" and decide when we were "booked" for Easter bakery orders. It....like Easter itself....came early, this year!! We had orders starting to come in right after Christmas!! I keep a close eye on the growing stack....and tally, and count, and make list after list....but, eventually, I always get to the point where I feel like I just can't take another order!! If you were one of the customers I had to turn away....I am sorry!! But....almost 22 years of doing this has taught me to go with my gut and know my limitations!! And....as much as I would like to imagine that I don't HAVE any.....I know that I do!!

Could we expand....put in more ovens....hire more help....make more and more and more? Probably. But that is just NOT what I want....not why I started this business!! I make it all.....from scratch....just like I do for my own family. And....that's the way I want it to stay!! I hope you understand!

I, also, hope you had a wonderful Easter.....and that the ONLY challenge YOU had was remembering where you hid the eggs!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A little....white!!

I love color.

I know the current trend is white. White, off white, beige, taupe, linen.....white.

There is something very calming about those rooms of white...and shades of white....it's kind of like when a fresh snowfall covers the drab landscape.

I appreciate this trend. I love to look at the pictures of those rooms. However....I couldn't live in those rooms!

Our home is full of color. Red, green and black (yes black!) are, pretty much, my go-to colors. While the white pallet is calming and serene....the rich, saturated colors that I prefer are warm and comforting...like a hug!!

Now....having said that....we are in the process of repainting our entire upstairs. I have found myself leaning towards off white, taupe and beige! Well....not exactly! I love burlap. I love the color and texture. The first wall color I decided on was a variation of burlap. We painted all of the trim a warm, clean white....yup....white!! It is beautiful!! We painted the next room a really pretty "grayish" burlap and, yesterday, we finished the bathroom!! Another...slightly lighter...shade of burlap. Each of the rooms are different....have their own personality....but flow together seamlessly!

Now....In my defense....all of these color choices have proven to be a wonderful backdrop for my collections....my collections that are FULL of color!! Those rich, saturated, time worn colors that I love!

Even my collecting habits go against the trends....I have stuff...lots and lots of stuff!! I will never live in a space without my collections!! Finding new treasures...and displaying them...is one of my greatest joys! It makes me happy!!

So....the point of this story? Well....don't follow trends.....make your house YOUR home. Surround yourself with what you love....and with whatever makes you happy! And....most importantly....paint something white....you're going to love it!!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Looking for Spring!!

I'm ready.

I don't know how you feel about this....but Spring can show up any time!

It's really not about the weather. As I sit here writing this...it is snowing....again. But, under normal circumstances I don't mind the snow....as long as it comes in "normal" quantities!!!! And it's not because we experienced bitter cold temperatures over the weekend.....although that really was not fun! (Why on earth do people LIVE where those temperatures are "normal"???)

No....it's not because of the weather. It's because I miss my garden....my flowers, my herbs, my birds....and because Spring is one of my favorite times of the year!

Just like clockwork...it happens every single year without fail....my "want to-do" list is formulating and getting long!! I want to do some painting....a little sprucing up! I already have a beautiful new...very "farmhouse" color picked out for our bathroom! I want to do a little sprucing up in the bathrooms at the shop, too! I bought some new fabric to make a new skirt for our downstairs bathroom sink....and I am looking at some new curtains for the gift shops. I am, also, planning on doing some re-arranging in the gift shops...I love to make everything look new and fresh....and to find new merchandise that will inspire you!

Springtime is THE time for renewal...outside AND inside, too! And....nothing inspires the creative juices like warmer temperatures and the beautiful colors of Spring!

Yeah....I don't know about you....but I am ready!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

a few snowy observations....

How are you making out with all of this white stuff??

An innocent question. Or the beginnings of a firestorm!

If you live where the "blizzard of 2016" hit....you know that is, pretty much, all anyone has been talking about. The interesting thing, though, is that no two conversations are the same.

There are people who are singing the praises of the road crews...people who are angry and frustrated because those very same road crews are not doing a very good job. There are people who are talking about how their neighbors and communities came together and worked...side by side...to clean up their little corner of the world....and there are people who still can't find their cars...or who cleaned out their space only to be plowed right back in again. There are those who took out their snow shovels and did the responsible thing...and cleaned up those sidewalks....and those who still haven't touched them.

So....why so many different takes on the very same storm?

I think one of the explanations lies in our personalities.

I can really only SPEAK for myself......but I can observe others and draw conclusions.

My take....as much as we all would like to believe that we have a handle on the weather....we do not. You can check on what the weather experts are saying 24/7 via all kinds of avenues...TV, computer, phone....but, the bottom line, just because "they" are telling you something doesn't make it "so"....and Mother Nature is driving this bus! Sometimes "they" are right....but, just as often, "they" are wrong. So....observation....watching the weather is a pleasant diversion....sort of like reading your horoscope.

Another observation....the world is made up of all kinds of people. There are people who try to find the good in everyone and people who are just plain miserable. There are people who do "the right thing" and people who wait for someone else to do "the right thing" for them. There are people who take others feelings and situations into consideration....and people who only care about themselves. If you would like to observe all of this for yourself....head to the grocery store two days AFTER a storm. Just stand still....people watch. Watch the ones who are in the middle of the aisle...blocking the way....maybe on their phones....completely oblivious to everyone else (I am going to assume they have not done their sidewalks...) and then there are people who are picking up the things that they need...as well as a few things for their elderly neighbors (I am going to assume they are part of that community that worked together to clean up the whole neighborhood!)

As I said before....I can only observe and draw conclusions for others....but I can SPEAK for myself. I do not do well when I am not in control. Period. And there is no...NO...situation that you have less control of than the weather....and what happens AFTER a weather event. My opinion....the roads aren't horrible....but I think they could have been better. That brining thing that they wasted days and dollars accomplishing....was a dreadful waste of time, energy and money. There should be a "Plan B" in place for "historical" weather events....better to be prepared for something that never happens than to be unprepared. I think our little town (and many, many others...) were unprepared. I think if you love the snow...that's just wonderful....but there comes a time when you should keep that to yourself! And now would be that time! I think if you have a job that you can do from the cozy comfort of your home....or one for which you continue to get a paycheck even if you don't, actually, work...that's super awesome for you....but there are an awful lot of people who NEED to get somewhere....work, an appointment (perhaps the doctor...) who would like for you to be quiet!

We will be starting our 22nd year in business this Summer (ah....Summer!!) and, although everyone is  claiming the reasons for all of the, current, problems is the "historic" nature of this storm, I have witnessed the inability to handle snow (even less historic amounts....) many, many times over those 22 years! Taking into consideration my problem with lack of control....I am seriously considering taking this bull by the horns....does anyone know where to find a used front end loader? Craig's List??

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pass It along.....

I don't know about you...but once the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is over I start to think about all kinds of new projects.

I love, love, love the Holidays....starting with Halloween all the way through Christmas and New Year's Day....but there is so much to do...decorating, cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping...there isn't a lot of "extra"  time.

But....once the decorations are all put away (and my Snowman and Valentine's Day collection is out!!) there is a little time to think about something else. Now....let's be clear....there is just a "little" time.....because...before you know it...it'll be time to think about gardening projects!!! (And after the snowstorm, yesterday....the sooner the better!!) but January and February are perfect for those indoor endeavors!

When you are the "caretaker" of antique properties (and we own TWO!!) most of the time those projects involve maintenance....painting is, usually, at the top of the list! But....there's always time for some other things too!

And, right now, I am obsessed with old recipes!!

A few months ago I pulled out all of my grandmother's recipe collection. I have four separate "collections"...notebooks and recipe files. They are full of newspaper and magazine clippings and hand written recipes. There are quite a few "typed" copies, too! Typed....like on a type writer!! 😊  The hand written copies are not in her handwriting. They were shared by someone she knew. I go through those pieces of paper...carefully!!!...and think "this must be a great recipe" after all...someone took the time to copy it and pass it along. And aren't those the best?

There are definitely many, many more "treat" recipes than "dinner" choices. Pound cakes and pies, cookies and candy....and that's fine with me!

There is a place for fancy, (over)decorated, trendy baked goods....but not in my world! I love the old recipes....the old-fashioned, homemade, nostalgic...HAPPY recipes!! We are so lucky....we have access to Pinterest, Facebook and Blogs. They are today's newspaper and magazine clippings....they are how WE "share" recipes!

Someone takes the time to cook or bake something...and it makes people HAPPY....and then they pass it along!! Old-fashioned ideas....just a new way of doing it!!

I am, slowly, working my way through these recipes....picking out the ones I want to try. Once I settle on one...I will take the time to bake it and then "pass it along" right into the bakery case at Sweet Memories!! With any luck...it will make all of you happy! After all....making people happy is my job....and, usually, it's a piece of cake....or pie, or cookies!

If you have an old recipe, or two, that has been making people happy....pass it along!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Be the Change.....

One whole week of 2016 is in the books....how is it going for you?

I know, traditionally, the start of a new year means resolutions. Resolutions to change everything. The way you eat, the way you spend your time....the way you live.

Personally....I don't make resolutions. I try....everyday....to do my best. I try to have a positive attitude, treat people the way I want to be treated, try to find the good in everyone (THAT one can be challenging!!) try to work hard, try to give back whenever I can....I put my family first....and choose to be happy.

There is no doubt about it....the "world" is not always the way we want it....there is room for improvement....LOTS of improvement.

The Internet is an amazing thing....we know everything in "real time". We can avoid accidents, check the radar, find a recipe, check "sales" at stores, check our bank balance, wish someone a "happy birthday" post a picture...seconds after we take it...but, with all of this amazing technology at our fingertips, so many of us "miss" the old days!

We talk about how....it was NEVER like this when we were kids! A coincidence? Is all of this technology, at least partially, to blame?? Or maybe, just maybe, we should take some responsibility ourselves?

I think there is a little distance (or maybe a LOT of distance...) when you communicate with some taps on a screen....and, I think, that has made people a little...well...rude! After all....you can say anything you want and there is no backlash.

I am an opinionated person. I raised my children to have opinions...and to have self esteem....and to stick up for their beliefs. But I did not raise them to inflict their opinions and beliefs on other people just because they can. Unfortunately....I think the distance that those taps on the screen has created has made it, not only okay, but "normal" and acceptable to just say whatever pops into your head!!

It's not. And perhaps it's one reason why it was never like this when we were kids!

I don't know if you spend any time on Facebook pages or websites of people or businesses you enjoy, or if you ever read comments....but it is, actually, shocking. The rude...beyond rude....things that people say!! Reviews are the worst. Sad, unhappy, nasty people who act like they have some right to bash people simply because they can. After all....you will never meet them face to face...so there are no repercussions!

Again...one of the reasons things aren't like they used to be?

Here we are...at the beginning of a new year....a new start. You can put all of your energy into not eating candy....or we can put all of our energy into starting a movement. Go find all of those businesses and people that you like, love or enjoy and let them know how appreciated they are!! Review the small business...the one that makes you happy. Let them know that the hours and hours that they put in, every week, is not a waste of their time! Find a few old friends on Facebook...and reconnect! Find something NICE to say about posts and pictures....compliment!! If you don't have something NICE to say....don't say anything! Be part of the solution....not part of the problem!!

We, the family that owns Sweet Memories, consider all of YOU to be part of our family, too. We lost a family member last Friday. A lady that we loved to see...a lady that was funny and sweet...a lady that was way too young! Life is too short. There just are no words...all of our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.

Be the change you want to see in the world.