Evelyn Couch: Towanda! Righter of Wrongs, Queen Beyond Compare!
Ninny Threadgoode: How many of them hormones you takin’, honey?
~ Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Spring Chicken

This birthday card is for all of us Towanda’s – us chickie ladies who are allegedly past our prime. Face it – We may not be younger and faster, but we have better insurance!*

And! We (or, that is I) get to retire in just eight days! How crazy is that!?

PI Farmer Girl Card

Even though I using that R word (“Retire”), I’m still just a spring chicken. I started working for the State of Texas when I was just a baby chick and the State practically raised me. 25 years later, I hope I made Mama Texas proud.

I’m crazy excited about this new chapter. And, at the same time, I know I’m sure going to miss my committed fellow surveyors and the darling dear residents and staff of the nursing homes – all the amazing people who have conspired with me to improve the lives of our seniors. My friends.

*That line about being well insured is one of my favorite lines from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, one of the best movies of all time based on a book by one of my favorite authors, Fannie Flagg. It’s about friends, best friends.


Tips & Techniques

My best tip for this card is to start with some great inspiration, like these gorgeous colors selected by Barbara Anders at The Color Throwdown.


You can read about how I used the Chicken Wire die cut to create the peek-a-boo front for this card over at my post at

Here’s the inside of the card. It’s super simple, but I like the way it peeks through the front.


Here’s the rest of the recipe and the Copic Markers I used.

PI Farmer Girl Copics

Of course, I’m not retiring from Catered Crop. I’ll be back soon with more tall tales, new adventures and more recipes. The secret’s in the sauce. 



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Peepster’s Gourmet Popcorn

A gourmet who thinks of calories
is like a tart who looks at her watch.  ~James Beard

Happy week before Christmas. Today’s project is a family affair – brought to you 3/4’s of the McClain family (or 3/7’s of the family if you include the dogs, who would have been happy to contribute).

Absolutely everyone is forbidden to think about calories when devouring Mr. Catered Crop’s caramel popcorn. Well, honestly, it’s so delicious, no one even dares think about the calories. We just consume!

Yeah, maybe that’s why I had a stomach ache on Monday after Mr. CC made three batches on Sunday.

Should ‘a thought about the calories.

Peepster's Popcorn

Oh, and by the way . . . My Baby Girl Caitlin calls her dad Peepster. It’s just one of the crazy McClain-isms at our house.

For 30 years – dang, a long time – Peepster’s been following a family recipe for caramel popcorn and perfecting it to a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, highly sought after delicacy. He only makes it at Christmas, and it’s worth the wait.


I’m lucky to have such an insanely talented in-house graphic artist. This year my Caitlin (Little Low Studio) gave Peepster’s gourmet popcorn an upscale, gourmet package.

Baby Girl scanned her beautiful calligraphy to digitize it. We printed her design onto some handsome woodgrain embossed paper. The rest was easy. We just cut out her tag with a circle die cut, added a gold eyelet, and tied the tag on with baker’s twine. The biggest challenge was just refraining from eating all the popcorn before we could get it into the jars. (Oh, it’s so yummy when it’s still warm, right out of the oven.)


I can’t send all you lovely readers some of Tom’s popcorn, but I do have a special treat for you. Caitlin created a digital download for you to create your own custom tags for homemade goodies.


Just click on either of these ribbons below and you’ll be able to download and print a sheet of 10 “Delicious Treats” tags.


Download pdf file

I’m forbidden to share Peepster’s popcorn recipe. Sorry about that. I tried, but it remains a family secret well hidden on an old, yellowed and stained recipe card. Here are the rest of the ingredients for our gourmet popcorn packages.

Happy Holiday baking from the McClain’s home to yours.

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Happy Nog

One sip of this
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight
Beyond the bliss of dreams.
~John Milton

Happy Egg Nog Season everyone! I have an egg-stremely, egg-citing project for you. (Sorry, bad pun, but what did you egg-spect?!)

Egg Nog Bottle

I made this little egg nog set to continue a tradition we started a long time ago.

I was a floor nurse in a hospital before I started inspecting and investigating nursing homes. The first year I drew the short straw and had to work Christmas morning, my shift started at 6:00 AM. As much as the family loved waking up to Christmas, I knew no one wanted to get up before I left for work at 5:00 AM.

Egg Nog Set

So, after everyone went to bed on Christmas Eve, I prepared a recipe from the Southern Living 1986 Annual Recipes cookbook for crustless grits and ham pie. I set the table with fun Christmas linens and dishes. All the family had to do in the morning was stick the pie in the oven and enjoy.

The breakfast surprise was such a hit that every Christmas we make up the same recipe on Christmas eve to enjoy on Christmas morning.

Egg Nog Milk Glasses

This year I drew the short straw again. I’m on call on Christmas day to respond to priority one nursing home complaints. If the moon is properly aligned with the universe (and everyone behaves in the nursing homes), I’ll get to stay home. But, if not, I’ll have ready for Christmas morning – so the family won’t feel the need to eggs-communicate if I’m not there.

Egg Nog Milk Glass

Tips & Techniques

You can find the recipe for our Christmas Quiche in a blog post I wrote back in 2011 here: Friday Five Holiday Style.

This Winter Wonderland logo stamp from Purple Onion Designs is so versatile, I knew it would be perfect for decorating my milk glasses, juice bottle and mini mold jars.

I stamped the Winter Wonderland and Snowflake center with red and blue ink and popped up the snowflake center. You get the best results with a solid stamp set like this when you use a smooth card stock like this Neenah from

I freakin’ love these vintage floral picks from Julie Collings Etsy shop. I used a snowflake doily die cut to create the felt wrap arounds and tied it all together with some bakers’ twine.

POD Winter Wonderland


Here are all the supplies for my Egg Nog set. The logo stamp set is on sale with the rest of the Purple Onion Designs stamp sets this week.

Holiday 2013 Sale blog

You should never give milk products to dogs, so little Olive doesn’t get any egg nog. She sure tried, though.


But, then she crashed.


She’s hard to photograph when she’s moving because she’s just a blur of activity – but she’s an angel when she sleeps.

Pass the nog!


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