Her Irish Eyes Were Smiling

irishMy grandmother was born and grew up in Ireland. Every year around St. Patrick’s Day, there’s something I like to do to remember “Nana”, and also to help get into the spirit of the holiday!

“Make paper garlands of shamrocks?” (You ask.)

No . . . ( I answer.)

“Go to a St Patrick’s Day parade?” (You guess.)

Nope! ( I smile.)

“C’mon Crystal – just say it!” (You sigh. 😉 )


Well . . . although I also do this at other times of the year, I especially like to do it for St Patrick’s Day.

First, I gather my supplies.


After mixing, kneading, and baking, I have this.


If you have never tasted homemade Irish Bread, you must try it sometime! I do mean homemade though, because the stuff they sell in stores is nothing like real Irish Bread!

Labeling the store version as “Irish Bread” is like comparing a loaf of generic, air-filled, white sandwich bread in a plastic bag to a mouth-watering, home-baked, crusty, loaf of yeast bread.

Here – let me give you some to try, along with a little butter and nice hot cup of tea!


Whenever my grandmother prepared this snack for me, her Irish eyes were smiling. If you are not familiar with it, think of a combination of cake and bread – sweet but with a heavier texture than cake would have, and liberally sprinkled with regular raisins, golden raisins, and caraway seeds. A recipe can be found here.

A wish for you on this St. Patrick’s Day . . .


May your mornings bring joy,

and your evenings bring peace . . .

May your troubles grow less

as your blessings increase!


Friday Favorites

I know, I know! We’re a week into the New Year already, so why am I showing something Christmassy for this week’s Friday Favorites?

Well, just before I close the holiday posts, I thought you might like to see my favorite gift given this year!


This Christmas version of a money tree was lots of fun to put together for my Mum & Dad. Every year it becomes harder and harder to figure out what to give them. They have 6 grown kids buying gifts for them, so the good ideas are dwindling. They don’t need any more knick-knacks!


This year, I decided to give them money, but I wanted to do more than just put it in an envelope. Money trees are nothing new, but I thought a Christmas money tree might be fun and a little out of the ordinary.


I found this pretty tabletop tree with the idea that they could re-use it as a holiday decoration in the future. It’s showy but doesn’t take up too much real estate when in storage!

We gathered an assortment of bills in different denominations, rolled each one, and tied them to the branches with gold curling ribbon. As you can see, a dollar coin with little green bows served as the tree topper! (Yep, that’s Lady Liberty holding her torch.)

For the final touch, I printed a small hangtag that read: “Sometimes money does grow on trees!”

Actually, I wanted to show this to you right after we put it together, but that might have spoiled the surprise for Mum & Dad – they’ve been known to stop by the blog now and then! 😉


Friday Favorites


For this week’s “Friday Favorites” may I present an ornament I’ve just finished making!

This “mini-sized” Christmas Stocking measures about 4 inches from top to toe, and it was so much fun to knit. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out – especially because it’s been a long time since I’ve made anything with a charted design and I was a little worried about it.


Julie of “Little Cotton Rabbits” designed the pattern and you can find it by clicking here. Julie is an extraordinarily talented lady, who knits the most delightful little rabbits and a whole assortment of other wonderful things!

The tiny bear above just happened to be in my stash of craft supplies. I have a big box of odds and ends that I find on sale and put away for future projects. They really come in handy! This little fella was just the perfect size to snuggle in a mini stocking.

Now that you’ve seen him, I’ll put him on the tree 🙂

Once the holiday rush is over, I think I’ll start making a few friends for him . . . for next Christmas!