Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Easter/Spring Tree

Finally I get to post a picture of my Easter/Spring Tree. I did not have access to our camera earlier as my son was on holiday over the Easter holidays and needless to say he got priority to using it to capture some memorable photoes, some of which I will share in another posting.

Here is a close-up of some of the decorations, thanks to my friend Cathy in Montana who very generously sent me these lovely decorative eggs and other decorations for my tree.

I also love your Yo-Yo eggs ~ well done and thanks Cathy!

My appreciation also goes to my dear Secret Sister from my favourite Craft forum who sent me this lovely handmade Easter card with cute tags in individual pockets, well done and thank you so much!

We are still enjoying our Easter tree and hope you will enjoy the pictures and this idea.
God bless and Happy Crafting!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

World Book Day

World Book Day is an international event which is celebrated on different dates throughout the world. In many countries it is celebrated on April 23rd, but in the UK and Ireland this year it was marked on March 6th. It does sound a little confusing seeing as it should be one day for all, being a 'world' book day. I have read it has something to do with school traditions, terms, the particular country.... However, so long as it is celebrated that is what matters. So today with the rest of those who are celebrating in Malta and other countries, HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Incidentally this day is also known as World Book and Copyright Day,
read more about it here...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

April is also National Poetry Month ~ Here is an inspiring site
for those interested...


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now I am off to go put my nose in that book I started a while ago as I have another one waiting to be read.

Flying with books is an experience out of this world...when I read I fly because it releases my mind from worries or petty things that otherwise would grip my mind and enslave me...fly with me, pick up a good book and be lost in its beauty, you will be transported to another world.


images from shared graphics in my files

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Today April 22nd is Earth Day ~

Are you celebrating this special day, maybe you do so every day?
Many of us try to make an eco-difference in our daily lives knowing
there is indeed plenty to be concerned about and so much we can do...

Remember you can make a difference and have fun too!

Here are some ideas I have come across that will help you go Green.

  • MNN is full of ideas on how you can make a difference:
  • Nature according to Disney ~ A nature documentary with a big-screen debut this month
  • Think you don't have time to do anything on Earth Day? Sure you do. Here are 10 ways sustainable food lovers can participate.

  • Dolphins 'lend a hand' too...


  • Hmm, amazing, interesting, outstanding, check this out...

  • No wonder the price on Maple Syrup has risen so fast...

Let us remember

Carpooling ~ shorter showers ~ re-using bags ~

~ teaching our children by example ~ planting a Tree ~

are still great ways to do our part.

Every day should be Earth Day, it is all about the planet we live on,

let us do our part and a little bit more than that... with a smile!

Images from Earth Day sites

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WOW ~ My First Award!

The Karma Award

I received this award from my dear sister Sue (aka Crafty Sue) of http://craftysusie.blogspot.com/

From a very young age Sue has always been very talented, always coming up with fresh ideas and trying her hand at new things, her creations are awesome... please visit her blog it is definitely worth visiting. Thank you Sue for choosing my blog among the eight blogs of your choice. I am very honoured to receive this award especially that it is my first and that it is coming from you. Thanks sweetheart!

I think the Karma award is special because it awards those who truly cherish friendships made throughout the world even though we have not, and may never, actually meet. Most of us have only 'met' through our love of sharing our talents, ideas, crafts, life experiences and beliefs. It is in caring and sharing that we all meet here on our cyberspace world. The generosity and friendship of these amazing people certainly merits a special award.

Since I am quite new to blogging, my list is at the moment limited but ever growing...I am chosing to award this to the following six for the moment.

If anyone is passing through and think you'd like to feature this award on your blog, please feel free to collect this award and leave a comment so that I can add your name to my list.

HDMac's Craft Blog and More http://hdmcfar.blogspot.com/

This award was accompanied by this text:

Karma Award

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

The blog owners that receive this award will have to post the logo on their blog , with the green text above , mentioning the person that has awarded them and her blog and then pass it on to other eight blogs of their choice, finally they will have to contact the blog owners to let them know they have been awarded.

To those who have been awarded and, for some reason or other, cannot forward this right away, or who would rather not post it on their blog, I just want to say I appreciate your friendship and talent and hope that maybe some day you will find the time and reason to award this to others.

Congratulations and Blessings to all!

Thanks also goes to Amber of RedMommyCrafts

for awarding me the KARMA award once more.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


He is risen indeed ~ ALLELUIA!

Happy Easter Blessings!

Graphic from my files

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Maltese Figolli ~ An Easter Tradition

Every Easter when we were young, Mum used to make these lovely almond pastries which were like gingerbread shapes filled with almond paste. She made several of these and we always got to chose a shape we liked...I used to love having a mermaid or an Easter basket or a fish, also a heart...other shapes included a butterfly, a lamb or a car or even the shape of a man or woman. Sometimes we would come up with a new shape and make the patterns ourselves.
Each figolla once baked would be decorated with glace icing and an Easter egg. These were very large pastries and used to last several days especially that we each had our own!
Here is the recipe:

For the pastry:
175 grams caster sugar
400 grams plain flour, sifted
200 grams butter
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
2 egg yolks, beaten
A little water

For the almond paste:
300 g caster or icing sugar
A few drops orange flower water (or almond essence if you can't find the Orange flower water)
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
300 grams almonds, ground
2 egg whites

To finish:
Glacé icing (200g icing sugar + 2 tblspoons warm water)
Royal icing (optional)
Small Easter eggs

This recipe will make about 4 figolli depending on the size of the patterns used and the thickness of each rolled out shape.

Make the pastry by first sieving the flour in a large bowl, then rubbing in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Add the sugar and the grated lemon rind and bind with the yolks, mixing with a little water to make a fairly pliable dough. Leave to chill.

To make the almond paste add the sugar, orange flower water and lemon rind to the ground almonds, and bind with the egg whites.
Roll out the pastry and cut out in the shapes you have chosen.

Make two of each shape as these will be sandwiched with almond paste.
Lay the first shape on a greased and floured baking tray, spread with almond paste, leaving a small margin.
Lay the second shape over the top and press the edges together.
It helps if you wet the edges with a pastry brush to ensure the pastry seals well.

Repeat with the rest of the shapes so that each pastry will have two shapes sandwiched with a layer of almond paste.
Bake at 200'C/400'F/gas 6 for 5 minutes, then at 180'C/350'F/gas 4, for about 20 minutes, until pale golden. I would say a moderate oven, make sure they don't burn as the last minutes are crucial to the end result. It is not the first time I had to scrape the bottom of a couple of shapes!

(For those whose ovens cook very rapidly I suggest you put a pan of cold water on the shelf underneath the shelf with your pastries.)
Let cool on the tray.
When the pastries are thoroughly cold, spread a coat of glacé icing and decorate with royal icing in a different colour to define the pattern chosen.

While the icing is still soft, press a small, foil-wrapped Easter egg in the middle of each shape.

Instead of making several shapes you could roll out half of the pastry mixture and place onto your greased and floured baking pan, making sure it does not touch the sides.
Cover with the almond filling and again roll the rest of the pastry to cover. Seal by wetting the edges with a pastry brush, keeping away from the sides of the pan. This will make one large pastry the shape of your pan. Once cold again decorate with icing or chocolate and cut into squares.

If you have the patience to make these, try making many small figolli using your favourite cookie cutters. If any of you try making the figolli in any shape or size, send me pictures and I will feature them on my blog : )

Footnotes: When rolling out the pastry make sure you use plenty of flour so that it does not stick to the surface.
Since I have had enquiries about where to buy the figolli shapes, I thought I had best post about it here. You can look in the baking section of most supermarkets. You could also make your own by cutting out templates from cardboard and then using them to cut around as you place them on the rolled out dough. Another idea is to re-cycle those empty plastic boxes of chocolate that come in the shape of hearts or stars to use as large cutters.
The filling should be spread on the pastry about 1cm thick.
If you want to make larger quantities, you can of course double the ingredients.
For those watching their diet, you can use less sugar in the pastry. If you double the pastry, do not use more than 200g sugar and 3 medium egg yolks will be enough to bind.


Pictures are from from my files

Friday, April 10, 2009

Divine Mercy Novena

The Novena to the Divine Mercy
begins today on Good Friday

For those who wish to pray this devotion here is a link for the prayers
to be said on the next nine days leading to
the Feast of the Divine Mercy,
the Sunday after Easter Sunday.

This first link is the link to the daily intentions...

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
may also be offered each day for the day's intention,
but is not strictly necessary to the Novena.

Special Treats for Easter

Here are two tags you could use with a jar full of Jelly Beans to give as an Easter gift...

Shirley Kozak claimed to have written this poem in 1990 but others before and after claimed to have written it and another person says her mother who was a teacher used it in the 70's and 80's so we had best presume this to be Author Unknown.

For decorating eggs for Easter and making Easter baskets, bunnies and chicks crafts as well as many other Easter craft ideas, visit www.allcrafts.net/easter.htm

AN IMPORTANT NOTE - When working with raw eggs:
Wash your egg well. Carefully poke a small hole in each end of the raw egg. Hold the egg over a bowl and blow into one of the holes. The egg liquid should slowly come out the other hole. Kids should get an adult's help and permission before trying this. Once the egg shell is empty, rinse it off and set it aside to dry.
Check out this webpage for safety in blowing eggs www.holidaycrafter.com/article1109.html

A great gift idea is to make your own custom made gift basket or pot - fill it up with different items that will please the recipient of your gift.
Decorate the basket or pot by gluing ribbon or cut-outs from cards. Fill with strands of coloured tissue paper or coloured straw. Add Easter eggs or chocolates and decorate in an Easter theme with cellophane wrap and yellow ribbons.

Tags and animations are shared graphics in my files

Thoughts for Good Friday

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

Although Lent may seem a sad time,
we should make it a 'Joyful season of the year',
one that challenges us to renew and strengthen
our faith, hope and love for the Lord.

How often have I tried to do God's will and failed?
Lord help me not to be discouraged by my failures.
Give me strength to persevere,
for I know that not to try harder is the worst "failure".

The above thoughts and prayers are taken from The Stations of the Cross written by Fr. Philip Heng, S.J.


God gave me the gift of Himself. Totally.
My challenge now is to accept this gift. Totally.
Hmmmm. Not sure exactly how to do that -
but I am going to pray for you and for me,
that we find out how and do it.
A thought from Sr. Patricia Proctor
~ Franciscan Monastery of Saint Clare, Spokane, USA ~
Send your Greeting Cards from the Franciscan Ecards site http://holyecards.com/
Join to receive Sr. Pat's Joy Notes ~ there is a link on the right side of the page in this link.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You
Because by Your holy cross
You have redeemed the world.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Light a Candle

I am sure many of you have visited the Gratefulness.org Candle site before. I have a link to it on the side of my Blog under the name Light a Candle. It is such a lovely place to visit. It will provide you with a quiet space where you can reflect quietly and pray while lighting a candle.
I have just lit one for those hit by the terrible earthquake in Italy and I also started a group under the name WW (for WorldWide) so if you would like to join this, just click on
and follow the instructions. I have started this page of candles which will all be in support, dedication or in memory of the victims, families and all the people in the region. Please join us and invite others to join so that candles can be lit from all around the world for those hit by the devastation and who need our prayers. Thank you.
A special thanks for the idea of starting this page of candles goes to my sister Crafty Sue who has also posted this site on her blog http://craftysusie.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Meatloaf ..... or 'late duty' meal

This is another family favourite. I love to bake this on the day I am on late duty. I prepare the mixture early (put in fridge) and leave the broth as the last ingredient to add just before placing in the oven. My husband or my daughter or son usually bake this just on time for me to find it ready when I come home. Easy as pie to make, even easier, and certainly nutritious for the whole family. Notice the hidden carrots in the meatloaf for those young ones who don't like these veggies.

• 500g lean ground beef
• 2 eggs well beaten
• 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
• 1/4 teaspoon herbes de provence
• 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
• 2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 1 medium carrot finely grated
• 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
• 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
• 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees if you are baking this right away. In a large bowl start with the beaten eggs and minced beef, add all the other ingredients and mix well. If the mixture is too dry add some milk and if it is too wet you can add some more grated parmesan or 1 or two tablespoons flour.

Place mixture into a non-stick loaf pan or shape into a loaf (using two forks or spoons) and place in a non-stick baking pan.

(If your pan is not non-stick you can lightly grease your baking pan with a little olive oil).

You can add sliced carrots and place around the meatloaf. Pour the chicken or vegetable broth in pan and bake uncovered for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your oven...as I said in my previous recipe posting, I am careful with my baking since my thermostat does not work. My meatloaf is usually done in about 45 minutes. Make sure no pink remains at the centre of the meatloaf...check by inserting a knife in the centre.

Let sit for 5 minutes before removing from pan and slicing to serve.

You can serve with mashed potatoes or couscous and peas or corn.
Crusty bread is lovely with this healthy meal.


Sunday, April 5, 2009


Image is from my files

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week leading to Easter Sunday. Today we commemorate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem while people laid down palms and clothing in front of his path. Their cry of Hosanna was an exclamation of praise, originally it was an appeal for deliverance.

On Palm Sunday palms and olive branches are blessed before Mass and distributed to the congregation at the end of today's celebration to take home to place in a prominant places to keep throughout the year.

The passion of Our Lord is recounted during today's Mass and this helps us as we prepare for Holy Week.

In some countries it is customary to make crosses with palms, here is a link on how they are made...

The picture above shows the olive branch that we brought home today after church...I like to leave it in a vase until it starts to dry out and then I take small branches from it to place in different rooms.

A quietness awoke me
I was serene and so happy today
With the crowd I will shout Hosanna
As I lay palms across your way.
Your triumphant entry Lord
into my lonely heart
uplifts me and gives me hope
May we never be apart.

But I am frail and will deny you
Not once but many a time,
Like Peter did though he loved you so ~
I'm moved with your sweet love sublime.

I will shout Hosanna
Praise and honour be yours today
Please save me oh sweet Jesus
Do not let me go astray!
Doreen Scerri © 2009

Image is from my files

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

(A picture from my files)
It was a busy day for me as well as a quiet day... I wanted to write a posting about today's feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and was thinking of what I could possibly write for this to be effective as a meditation or an outreach. I could write about how Our Lady suffered or about the suffering and pain that goes on in our world but then most of us already know about all this. Suffering can be such a personal thing, some people speak of their suffering constantly while others suffer in silence.
As I was debating whether or not to continue writing this post, I received an email from a very good friend of mine who I know has fairly recently suffered both physically as well as emotionally and I would like to dedicate this posting to her...you know who you are!

Her email says,
'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.'
When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better.
Concentrate on this sentence... 'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'

I think it came just on time for me to use it as a reflection on this feast.

These are three very powerful sentences...in the first I think that it is how we act that matters, it is a call for action and how we go about it. I ask myself in what areas do I need to change if I want something different but this change needs to be done with a leap of Faith and Trust knowing that if I left it up to Him, He will show me the way but I need to be awake and aware at all times and be ready to accept, act or wait even if it means I have to suffer. It could be a change, an opportunity, a challenge.
In the second sentence we may feel that when things go wrong we are being punished, that we do not deserve this and many times we ask ourselves, 'Why me?' If we lose a job or a loved one, when our plans are changed, when it seems as if everything is going wrong, very often while thinking we know what is good for us or that our situation won't change, God may have other plans. What may feel as unfair may indeed be a blessing in disguise.
The last sentence I think is the most important and if we concentrate on it, it gives us strength.
God loves us so much, He will always help us, He gives us the strength to bear our troubles...my favourite quote is from Matthew 6:26, it has given me strength on many occasions...
Look at the birds in the sky. They don't plant or harvest or gather food into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. You are more valuable than they are, aren't you?
Whenever we find ourselves in difficult situations, when we feel lonely, when we seem to be at a dead end, that is when God lifts us up. That is when He is carrying us. We may not know when or how or even why but He always does.
For anyone suffering in any way, this posting may not be the answer but reading the three sentences and concentrating on how they connect with Action, Acceptance and Trust, I hope it will be uplifting.
Seeing how Our Lady suffered along with Jesus when she was there (action), how she accepted and trusted, we realise that when we suffer we gain, just as Jesus obtained eternal salvation for us when He suffered and died and then rose again. Indeed when God takes something from our grasp He is not punishing us but opening our hands to receive something better. Our suffering be it physical, spiritual or in any other way, is in preparation of a gift beyond our expections, beyond our dreams. I hope this thought is uplifting. I close with some thoughts in a poem/prayer.

To You Oh Mother
I turn my eyes
I feel your pain
In your lap He lies...
Mother most merciful
So full of love,
My pain I offer
To you above.
Bless us and as you
Take our grief,
Please give us hope
and sweet relief.
Sweet Mother Most beautiful,
Our Lady most kind,
Thank you for the comfort
That in you we find.
D. Scerri ©

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back to the drawing board

So here I am back to a little bit of creativity...
I have been playing in my graphics
program to create a tag to attach to an Easter votive candle
to give as a gift. I am posting it here in case someone wants to use
this idea, you can also use the tag so long as it is not for
commercial purposes.
I would like to give credit for the Easter votive candle idea to Marie,
a crafting friend on my favourite forum.
Thanks Marie!

Just right click and save to your files and
of course remember where you saved it : )
You may need to re-size as the original size of this
tag is roughly 2.4 x 1.4 inches.

Verses come like raindrops...

We had been experiencing some warmer days with the onset of spring, days with not much rain and the earth had already started to feel the difference. It was the weekend of our retreat...suddenly a most welcome rainshower refreshed us all...that's what drew me to the back porch where I sat down and wrote...

Raindrops are falling,
My senses renew,
The scent of the first rain
I loved as I grew.
Leaves are greener,
Earth's refreshed,
Your spirit Lord fills our soul
And we are blessed!
Doreen Scerri ©

* * * * *

All clouds are one in the sky above
A blend of subtle grey
Like your blessings, Lord,
so many they are
To gently fill my day.

The warmth of the sun now adds a haze
And grey changes to blue,
My heart feels blessed
with your endless love
My hope, my Lord, is in You!

My day, my space, all I've done and said
To You in thanks I give.
May I, in everything and everywhere,
Praise You for as long as I live.
Doreen Scerri ©

* * * * *

Hopes and wishes,
Thoughts and dreams,
You give me to flavour my life.
In everything
and so it seems
I'm blessed with all my strife:
For no rose is without a thorn
And obstacles need to be overcome ~
I blend my will to yours Lord, today,
May Your will be always done!
Doreen Scerri ©
* * * * *

Bookmarks to share

Here are a couple of bookmarks I made to share at last weekend's retreat...
the original had details to mark the occasion.
For an extra touch I also added a tassel
or cross on a silver ribbon.
Special thanks to my friend Cathy from Montana USA
who sent me the lovely crosses.
Thanks Cathy!

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