Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The infuser that almost got away …


My recent acquisition of this particular tea infuser ball is a little complicated. You see, I'd been going back and forth to the ENT in Jonesboro for most of this year to try to resolve a chronic ear infection. I think it's *finally* resolved (hallelujah!), but it's been a challenging year on the medical front, to say the least. One day on the way home, I spotted a St. Vincent De Paul thrift store nearby, and I stopped in and bought a few things. I saw this gorgeous infuser ball but told myself no, I didn't need it. On the way home, though, I couldn't help recalling that it was very possibly the prettiest infuser ball I had ever seen, and it was just $3.29, so why on earth didn't I live a little and get it? (Have you ever done that?)

On my next visit to the ear doc (there have been sooo many this year), I stopped by the thrift store to go ahead and get the infuser, but even though it was well after 10 a.m., and the store supposedly opens at 10 a.m., the store was closed and dark inside. I could see through the window that the infuser was still in the glass case up front, but I had stuff to do and an ear problem to tend to, so I went home.

On my next visit, I was at the doc later in the day, and guess what? I stopped by St. Vinny's, and the infuser was still there. By that point, I'd spent more than $3 of my time worrying about the thing, so I got it along with some other goodies I'll share another day. It's missing what I imagine was a plain old steel infuser ball on the inside, but I've got several of those in my craft supplies (they're in the midst of becoming Christmas ornaments), and it won't be hard to find another. Hopefully, I told myself, I'll think of the beauty of the roses and eventually forget all about those many, many trips to Kaiser Permanente this year.

Then I got home and looked at the back stamp! Ha! At least I have a charming new (and vintage) infuser ball, right?

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Release day for "Rubies and Revenge"

It's officially release day for Rubies and Revenge, and while I know many of you are eagerly awaiting the paperback (release date still TBA), I did want to mention that the ebook is now available at the $2.99 pre-release sale price and goes back up to $9.99 after tomorrow. So for those of you who happen to be cozy mystery readers who prefer ebooks, I wanted to mention this. You can find the book here.


(That's not a real photo above, by the way! I've been making these whimsical graphics with the app for my Facebook page, but I thought some of you might get a kick out of this one too!)

Monday, September 27, 2021

How to sip your tea in style this fall

When my goodie box from Adagio Teas arrived last week, I was surprised to find a gorgeous new infuser mug included! I tend to switch up my tea wares at least seasonally, so it was delightful to receive a new tea mug to use.

And I don't know about you, but I love any fall graphics with jewel-toned leaves on them. One of my many "someday" projects is to applique a quilt featuring leaves just like this. Until then, I will certainly be glad to enjoy them on this great new mug!

A new autumn mug calls for a new autumn tea, so I was curious to see what was in this box.

There are four 10-cup pouches of loose-leaf tea in this sampler box, and at just $12, that's a great value. I would surely be ordering this if I hadn't just received it!

The first tea I sampled from the box was this Bonfire blend. That photo just says fall to me! This tea is described this way: "Honeybush hazelnut and cocoa nibs relax and ground you, while a spice blend of aniseed, cinnamon, clove, and orange peel offer cozy comfort and zest. Apples and rose hips add soft sweetness while a touch of Lapsang Souchong black tea and red peppercorn offer hints of smoke and the flickering spark of heat." Now, if you've been reading this blog for a while, you may recall that Lapsang Souchong is not my favorite, and yet in this tea, it provided the *perfect* tiny bit of smokiness that blended beautifully with the spices and fruits. I was, frankly, more than a little surprised. I didn't think it could be done.

Even steeped (in the new mug!), those peppercorns and aniseseed make me happy—just looking at them, I mean—and I'm so pleased to have enjoyed the opportunity to check out this blend from Adagio Teas.

What tea wares are you all sipping from this week?

Friday, September 24, 2021

A taste of fall from Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas recently got in touch to see if I'd be willing to review some of their fall loose-leaf teas, and since I've long been a fan of Adagio, I naturally said yes. I've got so many yummy-looking teas to try in the coming days, but the first one I reached for was an herbal tea that I had a feeling I would love.

Look at all the goodies in this Honeybush Banana Nut blend. I sure wish this was a scratch-and-sniff blog so I could share the rich, luscious scent with you. This blend contains Honeybush Tea, Apple Pieces, Cinnamon, Cocoa Nibs, Natural Banana Flavor, Natural Chestnut Flavor and Marigold Flowers.

This tea, though sugar-free and caffeine-free, definitely falls into the category of what I'd call a dessert tea, and I've already enjoyed it several times as a wonderful afternoon pick-me-up. That banana nut bread flavor definitely comes through, but I'm pretty sure it's the honeybush tea I like most, as that's an herbal tea I have long enjoyed. If you, too, would like to check out some new fall teas, please click here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Treasures found in Juliette …

Next door to the Whistle Stop Café in Juliette are several charming antique stores, and at one of them, I was delighted to find some very affordable vintage Christmas goodies, like this Lefton sugar and creamer set that was just $7.95 at a shop called Verna Cora's. I can't wait to decorate with (and use) these pieces at Christmas!

I love the pretty shapes.

And in the world of vintage Christmas collecting, I have discovered, some collectors like the box as much as the item inside of it. In this case, my $3.50 find was an 8-inch cookie cutter that makes either a snowman or a gingerbread boy. One giant cookie on a pretty dessert plate would make a fun gift, wouldn't it? But I love the box as much as the cookie cutter! (Or "cooky cutter," as they used to say.)

And since I so enjoyed working on my Vintage Christmas Cookbook last year, I've continued to collect inexpensive Christmas cookbooks and booklets. This one had that retro look that calls my name, and since it was just $2.95, I grabbed it.

I had noticed the recipes included something called Cinnamon Teas, so that cinched it. But look closely—because I didn't. When I got home, I realized this is a booklet for *bakeries* and produces commercial quantities of these treats. The four pounds of pastry flour and the two pounds four ounces of sugar should have clued me in, ha! (I still may try to reduce these recipes one day and make them.) So even though I was in a tourist hot spot, I was very pleased with my finds and the reasonable prices. If you're ever here on a trip and visit the Whistle Stop Café, you may want to buzz by Verna Cora's as well!


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Wanted: Book reviewers!

Question: Do any of you review books, whether that's on a blog, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on, or anywhere else? If so and you would consider writing a review of Rubies and Revenge, I would be happy to send you the ebook file from my publisher prior to release day next week! (Still no date for the paperback release, but as soon as I know that, I'll share it here and schedule a giveaway.)

If you're interested in reviewing the ebook, just send me an email at and let me know whether you prefer a mobi file, a pdf, or an epub, and I'll send it your way, because reviews, whether positive or negative, help readers find my books. Thanks!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Fried Green Tomatoes & Sweet Tea

On Friday, my high school girlfriend Tammy and I headed to Juliette to eat lunch at the Whistle Stop Café. I'm betting many if not most of you have seen the 1991 movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, which starred Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Mary Louise Parker. I first visited Juliette shortly after the movie came out, and I was well acquainted with it since much of it had been filmed in Coweta County, where I live. The newspaper where I worked at the time wrote lots of FGT stories while the movie was being filmed. One of my colleagues took photos of most of the stars on the set. I got to interview a local actress who was the stand-in for both Kathy Bates and Mary Stuart Masterson. She had a ball working on FGT, and amazingly, she entrusted me with her scrapbook from the film, which had behind-the-scenes photos and autographs of all the stars. The interior of the Threadgoode family's home was actually filmed at a historic home in Coweta where some friends live. The exterior of the Threadgood home was filmed at another old home in Coweta. The nursing home where Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode hung out? That was in Coweta too.

But the most iconic site in the film was, of course, the café itself, and for that, you have to go to Juliette.

I'd been before, but Tammy had never eaten there. It was fun to go back after a few decades, and we both marveled that the film is now thirty years old!

As expected, sweet tea was on the menu.

We decided to split an appetizer platter and a barbecue sandwich, and it was all delicious, but the fried green tomatoes were the first things I ate!

The Bennett's BBQ on the sandwich was succulent and the sauce tasty. If you've seen the movie, I suppose I don't have to tell you that "the secret's in the sauce."

We also split a dessert of Pecan Cobbler and ice cream. Oh. My. Goodness. Not surprisingly, I did not want any supper that night after such a huge lunch!

Juliette also has a cute little row of antique shops next to the café. I was delighted to find several vintage Christmas goodies, which I'll share later in the week. After lunch, we walked off some of those calories by taking a tour of the nearby Jarrell Plantation historic site, which Tammy had wisely looked into ahead of time and for which she had obtained a state parks pass through her local library. I had no idea you can "check out" a pass for two, and since she did, our visit was free! Here is one of the "new" buildings, the 1920 farmhouse, which is a private home and not on the tour. Structures on the property date from 1847 to 1945, and the site is considered "one of the most complete collections of family artifacts of this period in the Southeast."

I loved all the history and found myself wondering (as I always do) how to incorporate some of this into a future book, so we'll see if that works out! But check out this stacked rock chimney. If they told you to find a Jarrell ancestor's name in the rock, could you find it?

We did!

And I'll close with a few other photos from this rich historic site. We had a great day in Juliette, and I loved reliving the memories of a movie that came out thirty years ago!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The dish cloth giveaway winner is …

 M. Holtsford! Congrats, and thanks to all who entered!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Sampling some longed-for ice cream


Finally, FINALLY, I happened to be in downtown Newnan at the right time of day and was able to visit the much-lauded Rock Salt Milk Bar, a new ice cream place that opened several years ago. Since they're an ice cream place, they're open mostly in the afternoons and evenings, and I never got the timing right before, but a group I'm volunteering with had a meeting downtown the other day, and at four o'clock, as I was headed home, I noticed there was an open parking space across the street from the shop. Clearly, this was a sign!

Why was I longing to visit this ice cream place, you ask? Well, because one of their flavors I'd heard about was the Blackberry Earl Grey, and this nice young man, Aidyn, scooped some of it up for me this week! And I'm happy to say it was worth the wait. The creamy treat had a hint of Earl Grey and a pleasantly fruity blackberry taste. It was just what I was hoping for, and their waffle cone was one of the best I've ever had. (If I can't have a waffle cone, let's not bother with a cone. I don't like the ones that taste like glorified rice cakes.) So if you're not in Newnan, well, I'll have another of these ice creams on your behalf sometime. But if you are a local and haven't sampled this ice cream, I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

An anniversary trip to Huntsville, Alabama


On Friday, Alex and I headed to Huntsville, Alabama, the "Rocket City," for a weekend getaway in honor of our fifteenth anniversary! Huntsville was an easy four-hour drive away, and we enjoyed the short drive as well as all the new sights we found in Huntsville. The space center was across from our hotel, so this was our first sight every morning.

My favorite sight in Huntsville, though, was the famous "Cosmic Christ" mosaic at First Baptist Church of Huntsville. The space-age artwork, started in the sixties and completed in the seventies, is now being restored. But if you haven't heard of "Cosmic Christ," you might have heard of the mosaic's nickname, "Egg Beater Jesus," which I'm told the locals use affectionately and meaning no disrespect to the Lord!

I think it's pretty self-explanatory why they call it that. Some 14 million tiles, each no larger than a thumbnail, went into this mosaic.

Here are some photos where you can see the individual tiles. I cannot image the work that went into the mosaic or the work that's now going into its restoration!

Because I'm setting my second cozy mystery series in a small town outside of Huntsville, I wanted to visit a small town outside of Huntsville for ideas that I can use in my books. Decatur was the perfect town, and it even has a historic depot.

I always enjoy reading the signage from a historical association.

Decatur also had some great antique stores, including Tammy Eddy Antiques, where I enjoyed the friendly welcome and the lovely offerings throughout the store. 

The blue wares caught my eye, but what I bought was a brown transferware teacup for fall.

It's marked Charmstone Chin Hung, which I believe is a Korean manufacturer.

Is this a pagoda or a teahouse? I liked it, at any rate.

I liked the roses incorporated in the design as well, so this was the perfect fall teacup for me!

Carrying on with the railroad theme, Decatur has a restaurant called the Railyard, where we enjoyed a delicious late lunch of duck tacos (me) and a Cuban sandwich (Alex). We shared a dessert of their Toffee Crack Pie, which was divine!

Here's some of the decor from the Railyard.

And I'll close with the requisite cheesy picture of me with the butterfly wings. We greatly enjoyed our trip to Alabama and look forward to returning one day!