Dr. Pepper Cake

Dr. Pepper Cake
1 box devil's food chocolate cake mix
2 boxes instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups Dr. Pepper (regular or diet)
4 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips

vanilla frosting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease bundt pan with Pam spray.

In electric standing mixer, combine cake mix, pudding mixes, oil, Dr. Pepper, and eggs.
Stir in chocolate chips. Batter will be thick.
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Let cake cool at least 10 minutes before inverting to cake plate.
When completely cool, frost cake with icing.

Enjoy! It's the best chocolate cake - so decadent and rich and great for any special occasion. {You don't taste the Dr. Pepper - it just adds to the wonderful moist texture!}

spring has sprung

It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.
-Rainer Maria Rilke.

the hipster shawl

On Ravelry, I was reminded that this project began on February 20th. Goodness me, this has been taking forever but then I haven't been knitting so I guess I can't say it's slow going if I haven't been working on it. The pattern is called Hipster Shawl and I was captivated by it's uniquness when I first saw it. I'm delighted in the mute color yarn for it and think it will be a wonderful spring shawl to have on the go. I have given it more love and attention this week so I'm hopeful that it will be finished very soon.

The pattern calls for Worsted weight yet I am using a Sport weight by The Periwinkle Sheep in colorway, Parchment. I love this color!! I've just started skein two and it won't use the entire second skein. Fingers crossed I can hurry up and hit the finish line.

My mom made the darling tea saucer progress keeper as part of a favor at my birthday party in January. It's so sweet to use for this project.

Primitive Rabbit and April musings

April Greetings!

It's been quite awhile since I've written a Blog thought or two so now that we're in the 4th month of 2019, it was time. Do you routinely visit THE SAMPLER GIRL BLOG? Do people still read blogs? I remember how popular blogs were when they began; I had such a difficult time keeping up with recent posts of favorite ones back then as everyone was updating them daily. Nowadays, blogs that I used to peruse weekly are either taken down or floating around the inter webs with old pictures, outdated news, and silence. Has Pinterest taken the place of blogs? Is all your time spent on Instagram keeping current with your favorites? I  sure do spend more time on Instagram than anywhere else but I'm not one for the long posts there. I like the pictures and quick captions but I rarely read the long entries and that's where I miss this space. What did we do before Instragam? Oh yeah, Blog!

So for those who do still visit here, thank you! Thank you for stopping in and taking a few minutes to see what I'm sharing.

Above is a picture of {Primitive Rabbit}. Well, that's the name given to her by the menfolk in my house. I can't recall where I bought her but several years back I came across her and thought she was adorable and the perfect addition to my spring decorations. The guys think she's creepy with her non-facial expression and thin arms. I love everything about her! 

The little needlework that sits in her lap was one of the last stitched pieces I did and you can still find its free chart online! Imagine that - it still exsists. Go HERE for it and other sweet designs by primitivebettys. I loved her patterns and enjoyed making several of them including a bunny punch needle design.

Last week, my Mom gave me this super cute tote bag that she ordered from Loop London. It was a souvenir intended for those who didn't attend Edinburgh Yarn Fest in March. Isn't it absolutely darling? The Scottish Bunny is too cute. I've been used it as my purse as the size is ideal. Love how it goes with one of my Polkagris kerchiefs

This year I started noting a favorite read for each month in my reading notebook. For March, Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen took that spot; it was such a beautiful coming-of-age story about Mimi Miller, centered around her parents and her older brothers. Set in the 1960s in a small town in PA it was perfectly paced with characters that leapt from the page in depth and soul while still giving the main character, Mimi, the spotlight. The Miller family had lived on the land for generations but the government wanted to build a water reservoir which was a constant presence as the years went along. This book had so much heart and simple eloquence woven in; I highly recommend it.

Can you believe the gorgeousness in these mittens?!! My Mom knit them last month as she took a class from Tanis Gray at our local yarn shop and well, I'm still swooning over them. The pattern : Charlotte's Web Mittens. I just can't get over how beautiful they are; look at Wilbur! Charlotte! I love them and they fit perfectly.

As spring has sprung here more and more each day, I've been putting flowers in any and all vases around the house. There's something about flowers that makes the soul happy instantly. 

Until next time. . .

Reading | catch up VIDEO

g r e y

There are so many beautiful colorways of yarns out there. Yet, I'm always drawn to the greys, the natural earth-kissed wools that bring it all home, the simplicity of it all. Some is soft and some is scratchy. Much like life, yes? I find that while the sparkly, speckled, vibrant colors have their place - they don't make me cheerful like a muted blue, drab brown or faint grey. 

What is your favorite color of yarn to use? 


"Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisying and eternal." -Julia Chld.

How can another Thanksgiving be over, done and gone? Wasn't it just Halloween? 

My sister in law, Ashley, and my brother, Will, hosted our families and it was a lovely evening. Ashley created a cozy tablescape for us with pumpkins and candles alit with floating cranberries. Simple elegance! She wrote our names on leaves for our place cards. Mom brought the turkey and I fixed my favorite side dishes {sweet potatoes, macaroni & cheese, corn casserole!} and it all came together beautifully. Good food {good wine} and a house full of smiling faces and content tummies. What could be better? Maybe for a few more hours together? As I get older, I long for holidays to linger longer, move about in slow-motion if possible, so I can savor every bit of it all the more. 

On Thanksgiving morning, I watch the Macy's Day Parade - it's one of those traditions that I hold dear and even though the Parade is more Broadway show driven as years go by, it's still great fun watching the ballooons and floats come down the crowded New York City streets. One of my favorite movies is Miracle on 34th Street so it echos the Parade's charm very well. Even if I'm preparing food, I like to have it on in the background; my kitchen is all the merrier for it.

When I asked my 11yr old what was his favorite part of the meal -"the stuffing and mashed potatoes." While the meal as a whole is something I crave and practically smell the week before ... my essentials are always the macaroni & cheese then the mashed sweet potatoes {mixed with orange juice and brown sugar, baked/topped with marshmallows}. When I was growing up, I have fond memories of my grandmother fixing these side dishes and to this day, they have to be somewhere on the table for me to know it's really Thanksgiving!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Did you celebrate small or big? What are your favorite parts of Thanksgiving? I'd love to know! 

Merry Birthday, Jane Austen // Just Cross Stitch Magazine Christmas Ornament issue 2018

I was delighted when asked by Just Cross Stitch to contribute a design to this year's Christmas Ornament issue. I knew straight away that I wanted it to be Jane Austen themed yet linking her to Christmas is never easy as it wasn't as big a holiday then as it is for us now. So connecting Miss Austen was tricky yet since she had a December birthday, that seemed kismet. 

I hope you enjoy stitching MERRY BIRTHDAY, JANE AUSTEN and perchnce it is a design that lasts the whole year over, not just in December. Accompanying every designer's piece is a favorite recipe and a festive memory - I included the recipe for CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE and wrote about New Year's Eve 1999 before the new century dawned.

You can locate this issue in your local bookstore or needlework shop!

I have added a clip about this on The Sampler Girl youtube channel if you wish to have a view :

Merry stitching!

Peace like a river

Virginia is the only place I have ever called home. I went away to college for awhile (yet in the same state) and then came back and never lived anywhere else. The Potomac River flows ever constant nearby and even though I can't see it from my home, I feel its steady rythm, its comfort in my being. 

I pass this river many times a day, a week, a month, a year and the views never get old. The picture above was taken at dusk on the last day of August. The very last evening of August, summer 2018. The current was swift and it reminded me of how life rapidly ebbs along. Stumbling over itself at times, hitting obstacles along the way and then at other times, smoothly moving along. Time is precious. Fragile. Always going forward. As the water moves in its favoried direction, so do we follow our path. 

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sweet birthday wishes to my mom, Lucy. 

She's the light that shines in every room she enters. 
Her beauty is youth in a bottle.
She's the epitome of classic style.
She's hilarious, smart, honest, and creative.
She looks fabulous at 68.


Test Knitting

Perhaps, after all, our best thoughts come when we are alone. It is good to listen . . . to the brook running cool over polished stones, to bees drowsy with the weight of pollen. If we attend to the music of the earth, we reach serenity. And then, in some unexplained way, we share it with others.
-Gladys Taber
- - -

I'm test knitting a shawl design by Clare Devine. It's a lovely pattern and I'm eager to get moving onward very soon to the applied border section. This is my progress as of this morning.

As I said in my latest knitting video, I've misplaced the ball band to the yarn and haven't a clue what colorway it is or who made it. So frustrating because I am in love with everything about it and would like to get more sometime. I still have one more place to look where lost yarn ball bands go in my cupboard, so fingers crossed. Have you ever test knit a pattern for a designer? It's a fun process and sometimes harder than others, depending on design and designer's draft of instructions. 

As I type, the morning sunshine is flowing in and out of the swaying tree branches. Birds are already chirping their song and shadows are dancing on the nearby footpath. There's something golden about late summer mornings. August is saying it's not ready to close summer's door just yet .. there's plenty of warmness yet to surround. 

Dr. Pepper Cake

Dr. Pepper Cake 1 box devil's food chocolate cake mix 2 boxes instant chocolate pudding mix 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 1/4 cups Dr...