Saturday, December 10, 2022

Pretty Gumdrop Ornaments



I've got a table at a small craft show this weekend. I've been making, among other things, ornaments to sell.

Here are steps to making pretty gumdrop ornaments.
Supplies needed: paint (color or your choice), glue, 22 gauge craft wire, egg shape Styrofoam, glitter, paint brushes, toothpicks, serrated knife, small wire cutters
Cutting the Styrofoam with serrated knife.
Cut a short piece of wire, bend in half and twist the bottom ends around each other. Dip in glue and push into rounded top of Styrofoam. This will be the hanger.
Paint bottom of gumdrop and sprinkle with glitter while paint is still wet.
Insert toothpick into bottom of gumdrop and paint the top.
Stick gumdrops into something to dry (I used another piece of Styrofoam) and sprinkle top of gumdrops with glitter (again, while the paint is still wet).
Here are the finished gumdrop ornaments. They look good enough to eat.....but don't!
I also made little gumdrops with the small cut off ends of the Styrofoam. These would be cute hanging on a small kitchen tree. I like the orange best, what's your favorite?

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Writing Wednesday


When I'm writing a story, I try to include cliffhangers at the end of my chapters. 

 In the first book of my trilogy, Where the Stars Grant Wishes, I end my first chapter this way. . .

My clammy fingers fidgeted with the embroidered hanky Ma had given me earlier for something new and  something blue. I gasped. What were my borrowed and old items? Had Ma forgotten? I couldn't get married without them. Restless, my feet stirred beneath my skirt. Should I turn and run or stay?

Does it make you want to read the next chapter to see if she gets cold feet on her wedding day?

Book two, Mama's Memories, is a little different than the first. I reminiscence in it. Or should I say, Lucy (my main character) reminiscences.  

I wasn't sure if it was gonna work or not, buy everyone who has read it says the book is not confusing at all the way I wrote it.

Lucy is pregnant with her 8th child in this book, which takes place in 1924, and she is close to her delivery date. At different times she thinks back to events that has happened in her life since the ending of the first book (Where the Stars Grant Wishes) in 1910.

I end the chapters before she reminiscences with phrases like this.....

"I try to block the memory out of my mind," I said. "We can't go back and change what happened. But I still remember every detail of what  took place  as if it were yesterday . . . 

This is the end of Chapter 1, and hopefully it makes the reader want to read chapter 2 where she reminiscences about the time she overdoses her first baby with laudanum. 

In 1918 the war raged overseas, countries competed with each other for power, and there was so much killing but not in the holler. In the holler I was giving birth to a set of twins . . . 

This is the end of chapter 11 where she leads up to chapter 12 and reminiscences about the birth of her twins, when all along she thought she was only carrying one baby!

And at the end of the book, I, hopefully, make you want to read the third book of my trilogy (which I am currently writing) by saying . . . 

It was time now for my youngins to start their lives and make their own memories and mistakes. I just hoped Jonathan and I had brought them up well and their good memories would outweigh their mistakes and their wishes on stars would always come true.

Only time would tell . . . 

If you haven't read them yet, I hope you consider reading them and write a review. They are also both available on kindle unlimited. Click on the pics below to go to their Amazon page.


Sunday, October 2, 2022


 We've had bags of walnuts sitting in our old laundry room for quite a while. 

We finally got our nut cracker out. . .

and started cracking!

We've got a quart of them so far, but it's only the tip of the iceberg.

They sure are pretty.

I got some out of the freezer today and made German Chocolate Icing for my husband's cake for his birthday.

You can click here to see my YouTube video on making German Chocolate Icing.


Watch our you tube video on cracking the walnuts.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Writing Wednesday

 People tell me all the time that they would like to write or they could write if they wanted to.

"Then do it," I tell them. But most never do. Maybe they start but then find out it is harder than they realized.

Don't just talk about writing, or say you will some day when you have time. Time passes and opportunities disappear.

Start writing today. Don't be like Scarlet and say, "I will think about that tomorrow." Tomorrow may never come.

There are many things you can write about. You don't have to start with a novel. Start small. Practice, learn, and grow as a writer. It takes patience, perseverance and passion. Patience is hard for me. I want things now. I started writing some of my books years ago. I'm glad I had the patience to work on them until I was satisfied and happy with the finished product.

Storytelling is an oral form of writing. If you can tell a story you can write a story.

Write tall tales, family traditions (so they won't be forgotten), family recipes and stories to go with them, superstitions, non fiction, nature, lists, love stories, jokes, journals, how-to books, ghost stories, lines for greeting cards, folklore, your family history, short stories, poems, etc.

You see there are many things you can write about. You just have to put pen in hand or fingers on keyboard and take that first big step and start. You might find out that once you begin you can't quit. I've thought about quitting before, but I can't. Another idea comes and I have to write it down.

The difference between a writer and someone who wants to write is that a writer writes and the other one talks about writing.

I like putting down family stories so they won't be forgotten. I want my kids and relatives to know about and remember the past. 

I like writing stories for children.

I started out writing picture books and poems. They were my first love. I eventually started writing longer works. I didn't know I had it in me but I did. I've written two middle grade books (one yet to be published) and two novels. I am now working on my third novel. 

So, my advice to you is just START. 

LEARN the rules.

FIND a writing group to help you grow.

Happy writing!

Posted by Janet Smart 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Writing Wednesday

 Hi everyone.

I used to do a post on this site called Writing Wednesday.

Well, this is Wednesday. I think I will revive the tradition.

My latest writing achievements have been the release of two books recently.

One is just a new version of an older book. My Hum Hum Hummingbirds is now in hardcover - and I love the new cover! I also had to make the book 72 pages in order for them to publish it in a hardcover version.

And the second of my trilogy series is Mama's Memories. It is now out! It takes place in 1924 and Lucy is pregnant with her 8th child. She goes back in time and reminisces about what has happened since the ending of the first book, Where the Stars Grant Wishes, which took place in 1908-1910. 

I am very happy with both books. And I am now working on the third book of this trilogy. It takes place during WWII and at the moment it is called, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.

I was recently at a book signing at our local library and met a young girl who loved to read and write. She was the sweetest girl and said she had just started 8th grade. She purchased my MG book, Duck and Cover, and was excited about reading it. She asked us about our writing journey and said she has entered writing contests before, but hadn't won any yet. We told her to keep writing and to keep entering. Writing is something that gets better with practice. The more you write, the more you learn and the better you get. 

A number of years back my youngest son said that if you were a good writer, you shouldn't have to go back and make changes all the time. I said, "No, that is not the case". Editing is the process of making your writing better. All authors, even the big name ones, do a lot of editing. That's what makes a good story great.

I write a column for the local newspaper. I always try to have it finished before the deadline, because when you sleep on it and look at it again in the morning with fresh eyes, you always find things to change and make better. I don't think I would ever turn anything in without letting it rest and looking at it again with fresh eyes.

 A couple of my favorite quotes are:

"I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter." James Michener

 "Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try." Dr. Seuss

My Amazon page.

Posted by Janet Smart 


Friday, July 29, 2022


 We braved the muddy garden and went out and picked corn to freeze. The garden has had a rough go this year from all the rain and storms that have passed through our area.

We picked a little over 5 dozen ears. We wanted to freeze 5 dozen and eat the rest for supper.

After shucking them, we cut the corn off the cob with a knife. Our corn (serendipity) is so pretty.

You put one stick of butter, one cup of water and 4 Tablespoons of sugar into your large pot. Turn on the heat, stir to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. 

When the butter has melted, add 10 cups of cut off the cob corn and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes.

Empty into a large container to cool. I sit my containers on those reusable blue ice packs that you use in your lunch box to keep things cold. 

After the corn cools, I put them in freezer bags. I put 2 cups in each one. The 5 dozen ears of corn made 16 containers to put in the freezer.

The corn is delicious frozen this way. We just had a reunion and I brought some to it that I had put up last year, and everyone loved it. Still tasted great!

Just take from the freezer, thaw and heat. No need to add extra butter, only salt if you want to. I don't even add salt to mine.

This and other recipes are in my cookbook, Cooking with Family:  Recipes and Remembrances.

Enjoy making memories in the kitchen!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Beautiful Rose of Sharon

 I love my Rose of Sharon - and so do the bees!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I'll let these pictures speak for themselves. We've had these in our yard for many years and they look more like trees than bushes. 

I hope you enjoy the pics.

Do you have Rose of Sharon in your yard?

PS The hummers also love them!

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Catching Up!

 I don't post like I used to. I mainly post on Facebook and You Tube.

We've had a cold winter and a crazy spring. 

This year we've been visited by chipmunks, many birds, beavers, ducks and whippoorwills!

I will post a few pics and links below.

We love our little chipmunk we call Freddy. My son even made him a little picnic table to eat on.

Our robins have been nesting in the strangest places!

And we have been listening to whippoorwills every night. Click here to check them out on my you tube channel. Make sure your sound is turned up. If you want, you can click here and subscribe to my YouTube Channel. It's called Janet Smart-Country Living.

 I've been writing a new book, which will soon be available on Amazon. It is the 2nd in a series. If you like Appalachian fiction, I think you will enjoy these two books. The first one being, Where the Stars Grant Wishes. You can click here and check out by books on my Amazon page. 

We've just finished getting our garden out. We have peas, green beans, corn, squash and tomatoes. Can't wait for fresh veggies from the garden.

We constructed two teepees to plant our green beans around.

I am also helping plan for our high school reunion that will be held in August. My how time flies!

I will try and remember to post more often.

What's been happening in your world?

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Christmas Keepsakes and Memories

 We finally got our Nativity up today. I love it.

I'm still in the process of decorating and trimming our tree. I don't put up nearly as much as I used to. 

My tree is a tall skinny one, which I find hard to decorate. The limbs don't stick out far enough. I've got a variety of ornaments - lots of them home made and all sizes.

Here are three things that are important to me. The old Santa hat belonged to my mom. She always wore it on Christmas. Now I wear it. The ceramic angel belonged to my mother in law and the white crocheted snowflake was made by my cousin, Vera.

This Christmas card is very special. I found it in my dad's things after he died. Grandma and Grandpa sent it to him and my mom in 1947, the first Christmas my mom and dad was married. I love it. I display it every Christmas.

These are just a few of my Christmas keepsakes. 

One of my special memories is Charley proposing to me and giving me a ring on Christmas Eve in 1977.

Do you have any special keepsakes or memories of Christmas?


Thursday, October 28, 2021


 I'm always thinking of ways to use things for what they are not supposed to be used for.

I've been cleaning and organizing around the house. I found this desk organizer in the floor gathering dust. 

It's not gathering dust any more. It's the perfect addition to my kitchen table.

This is an old printers tray that I use to display my kid's hot wheels on.

I use this old sewing machine drawer to store my vintage buttons in.

This used to be an old floor model radio that that was converted into a bookcase that I bought at a yard sale for $3.

Of course, I believe this is supposed to hold wine bottles. I use it to place my rolling pins in.

I'm sure lots of you do the same as I do. 

What item do you use for something entirely different than what it was supposed to be used for?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Making a Barn Star Quilt

 I love barn star quilts that you see on barns (and other buildings) as you travel along country roads.

I love them so much, that we decided to make one to put on the back of our building (we don't have a barn).


FROG TAPE (This is really good tape. It makes very crisp paint lines)














EXTERIOR PAINT (we bought sample jars at Home Depot) and white exterior paint to prime the plywood with.











4 x 4 MDO PLYWOOD (we bought an 8 x 4 sheet and cut it in half)

9 galvanized dry wall screws

The first and maybe hardest part is to decide on a pattern to draw. You can google Barn Star Quilt patterns and lots and lots come up for you to look at. Then you have to decide on what colors to use. We decided to use crimson red, sunspark and beacon blue.

Put on two coats of white paint for the primer. We already had exterior white paint that we had recently painted the building with. Also paint the edge of the plywood.

After the primer paint dries, draw on the pattern you want. We used a fine point sharpie.


Tape off the sections to paint (one color at a time) We did the blue first. Let the first coat dry for a day, then paint on the 2nd coat. After applying the 2nd coat, carefully peel off the tape while it is still wet.

Let paint dry a couple of days before taping off next section.


Tape off the 2nd sections to paint. We did the sunspark next. Like before, let the 1st coat dry for a day, then apply the 2nd coat, carefully peel off the tape.

Let paint dry a couple of days before taping off next section.

Lastly, tape off the 3rd sections to paint. Like before, let the 1st coat dry for a day, then apply the 2nd coat, carefully peel off the tape.


Let dry for a few days before putting outside.

My son drilled holes about 1 1/2 inches from the outside border in the corners, one in the middle and one on each side. For a total of 9 holes. He then countersunk the holes so the screw would be flush with the plywood.

We screwed a board up on the outside wall of the building to set the barn star on while we screwed it to the wall. 

After screwing it to the wall, we got the blue paint and painted the screw heads.

Then we stepped back and enjoyed the view. I love it!

As you can see, allowing for drying time, it takes at least a week to finish it. 

But it is worth the wait.

Do you have one of these on your building or barn?