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My Favorite Holiday Bread

For many years – at least 30 – I have made a variety of breads to give at the holidays. Cranberry nut bread, pumpkin bread, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, spice bread, lemon bread.

Hands down, I think this is the favorite bread I make. I have friends asking when the bread will be ready as they don’t want to miss out. And, once they receive their loaves, the bread disappears quickly.

What I think sets this bread apart is it is not too sweet. You get to taste the cranberry, the orange, and the nuts.

It’s also adaptable to your tastes. You can switch up the type of nuts or leave them out altogether. If you don’t like orange zest, you can leave it out. You can add extra spice if you want.

I often start my baking around Thanksgiving. That way I have something to serve unexpected company or a nice bread to enjoy on a lazy afternoon with a cup of tea.

When it comes to packaging the bread, I wrap it tightly in plastic wrap once it is cooled. If I’m going to freeze it, I usually put three of the loaves in one large freezer bag, mark, and date the bag.

When it’s time for gift-giving, I will take the wrapped bread and tie it with a wide ribbon and bow. Often I will add a handmade ornament or handmade gift tag. Something extra to make the holiday even more special.

Cranberry Pecan Bread

Servings 3 small loaves
Calories 679 kcal


  • 2 cups gluten free flour I use King Arthur Measure for Measure
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter If your butter is salted, decrease salt to 1/4 tsp.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp orange zest


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease three small loaf pans.
  • Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium size bowl.
  • Push flour mixture to the sides to create a well in the middle of the mixture. Add the orange juice, melted butter, and eggs. Mix well with a spoon or spatula. Do not overmix. 
  • Fold in the chopped pecans, cranberries, and orange rind. 
  • Spoon batter into the prepared pans and place on middle rack in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Remove them from the pans and then continue cooling on a rack. 
  • Enjoy. If you aren't enjoying the bread once cool, wrap, and keep on the counter for up to 2 days. It's great the next day. Or freeze. 


Nutrition per loaf. I usually get 6 slices per loaf and consider 2 a serving.
Calories: 679
Fat: 24.2 g
Carbohydrates: 108.2
Protein: 8.8 g
Additional notes
I use a set that is four pans that are attached that I got as a gift. This is a similar set. I’ve used the metal ones that are disposable. Here are some silicone pans that I might try at some point. I like the ease of stacking to store and the fact they are dishwasher safe.

What is your favorite holiday bread to enjoy?

And, be sure to check out the other posts from creative bloggers to prep for the holidays!

Day 1November 30Linda at One Quilting Circle
Day 2December 1Celine at Perkins Dry Goods
Day 3December 2Susan at The Quilt Branch
Day 4December 3Melissa at Big Bee Applique
Day 5December 4Celine at Perkins Dry Goods
Day 6December 5Morna at Creative Arts Professionals
Day 7December 6Debbie at Wendt Quilting
Day 8December 7Linda at One Quilting Circle
Day 9December 8Debbie at Wendt Quilting
Day 10December 9Linda at One Quilting Circle

Get ready for creative holiday prep!

Are you ready for the holidays?

I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The best thing to do is preplan and follow through. Don’t wait until the last minute. I know, easier said than done.

We’ve got you covered! I’ve joined together with some other creatives, and we are sharing a Holiday Game Plan with ideas for a few quick projects, tips, and recipes.

The Blog Hop starts on Tuesday, tomorrow.

Check out the schedule and be sure to stop each day to see what’s new! You don’t want to miss out!

Day 1
November 30
Linda at One Quilting Circle
Day 2
December 1
Celine at Perkins Dry Goods
Day 3
December 2
Susan at The Quilt Branch
Day 4
December 3
Melissa at Big Bee Applique
Day 5
December 4
Celine at Perkins Dry Goods
Day 6
December 5
Morna at Creative Arts Professionals
Day 7
December 6
Debbie at Wendt Quilting
Day 8
December 7
Linda at One Quilting Circle
Day 9
December 8
Debbie at Wendt Quilting
Day 10
December 9
Linda at One Quilting Circle

Did you quit on your goals yet?

It’s only January 20, and it seems like we’ve lived through months already. The Coronavirus, political turmoil, our own personal struggles.

About three weeks ago, you committed to goals for the year. You can call them resolutions. You can call them intentions. You can call them guiding words.

And, I know committed was the right word. You did this with your heart and mind in the right place. You looked at what would serve you to make the next year the best for you.

This week marks the time that people start to give up on those goals.

This past Monday has been referred to as Blue Monday. It references a campaign created by Dr. Cliff Arnall and Sky Travel in 2005. This is a pseudo-scientific calculation that considers weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing your New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and feeling of a need to take action.

The idea is that all of that is enough to put you in a “blue” mood. Of course, the solution for your low feelings would be to book travel! (Remember the campaign creators.)

Strava, a company that offers a running and cycling stats tracking app, looked at the apps use over time. It discovered that the 3rd Sunday of January, earlier this week, is the day most people give up on their resolutions. They call it “Quitters’ Day.”

If you did succomb to Quitter’s Day or are now feeling blue with your choices at the beginning of the year, here are seven tips to keep going.

Read more…

From my studio

Hello creative soul!!
It’s January, and here we are already in the middle of the month. 

I hope you are having an amazing creative week!

I am enjoying the beauty of Maryland’s Eastern Shore this weekend! I’m watching a gaggle of geese out my front door. I lost count at 70 so definitely a giant gaggle.


I’ve posted quite a bit on the blog lately, including twice this week.

My Words of the Year

First, I shared my Words of the Year. I started the year pretty sure on what words, yes, more than one, I would choose. The day I sat down to blog about them, I woke with the realization that one was not right and a different word came to me at the moment. The right word. You can read my words and the process I used to select the words here.

My favorite quilt finish of 2020

I also blogged and shared some additional pictures of the quilt I made for my niece to take to college. She finally headed off a week ago and the quilt went with her. She loves the quilt. I found the end result to be so happy. Needless to say, I’m glad she loves it as much as I do. You can read about my favorite 2020 finish here.

What’s on my nightstand?

I’ve just started reading The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin. I’m really enjoying the book so far. It’s an easy read. You can also just pick it up, open to any page, and find something that resonates with you and inspires you. Why this title? From the intro: 

Shipping, because it doesn’t count if you don’t share it.
Creative, because you’re not a cog in the system. You’re a creator, a problem solver, a generous leader who is making things better by producing a new way forward.
Work, because it’s not a hobby. You might not get paid for it, not today, but you approach it as a professional. The muse is not the point, excuses are avoided, and the work is why you are here.”

We are discussing this book in our Members’ Studio. If you want to join in the discussion, you can get details here

My favorite 2020 quilt finish

Like many quilters, I love to make quilts for family members. The latest to receive a quilt is my niece Abby.

Abby is my youngest niece and she lives outside Chicago. She is also a college freshman and her quilt is going to college.

My other two nieces grew up five miles from me. I was blessed that they spent hours at my home being creative. They started sewing early on. If you search back through the blog, you’ll find photos of the work they did, from scrunchies to quilts.

When I started Abby’s quilt, I knew I wanted to make a fresh, happy, colorful quilt. I asked her for a little guidance on color. She told me she liked blues and purples.

I had lots of scraps. What quilter doesn’t?

Read more…

My Word for 2021

Welcome 2021!

I’d say Good Riddance to 2020, but not so fast. I don’t know anyone who isn’t glad to see 2020 end. Yet 2020 was filled with lessons for all of us if we stop and think about it. And, it looks like we are still caught in the throes of the pandemic a bit longer, so the lessons continue.

Over the years I’ve picked a word to guide me as I start each year. I’ve been picking a word of the year since around 2005. I can’t remember exactly. I do remember why I started doing this.

Around that time, I began taking yoga classes from a local teacher named Kathy Thompson. I loved the classes, and I loved my yoga teacher. I always felt better after each class. I was inspired by the readings she would share. I appreciated the idea of practice rather than trying to be perfect. I enjoyed the other women in the class.

That year Kathy walked around the room with a basket and asked us to take a folded piece of paper. Inside was our word for the year. I remember the woman next to me got the word love. That was a wonderful word to focus on. My turn came. I got the word openness. Openness. Really?! Love was such a better word. I asked if I could draw another word. Kathy told me that the word picked me and I was to keep it.

Read more…

Simple Steps to Plan for 2021

Are you someone who takes the time to plan out your year ahead of time? Someone who sets goals and then creates a system to stay on track with them.

Studies show that people who write out their goals are 50% more likely to achieve them than people who do not. Writing them down turns out to be a motivator.

In actuality, only 3% of people do write their goals down on paper. 14% have them in their heads. And 83% have no goals at all. And less than 1% review them on a daily basis.

This week I hosted an annual goal setting and planning workshop over in the Members’ Studio. I’ve done this for more than 10 years and it’s always a valuable experience, both for me and the attendees.

Here is some of the process that we used. While you don’t have access to our 20-page workbook, you can set aside time to follow much of what I’ve shared below.

Start with your successes.

It’s so easy to just decide that 2020 was a “lost” year. Of course your sales were down because of COVID. Of course you didn’t fulfill your teaching obligations because shows were cancelled. Rather than dwell on where you didn’t succeed, look at your successes. 

Read more…

From My Studio

Before I knew it, December arrived!  

I hope you are having an amazing creative week!

My goal with this weekly post is to share some highlights of my week, any finds I’ve discovered, and random thoughts about business and life. 

As I’m writing this, it’s a very windy day on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and I’m watching the whitecaps rapidly move along the Chesapeake Bay. It’s warmer inside, perfect for reading or quilting

Have you started planning for next year?

This week on the blog I shared a post on taking a look back at 2020 before you jump into planning 2021. I know it’s easy to just wish this year away! You likely had lots of lessons this year. You also had things to celebrate. 

I find it very valuable to really spend time reviewing what my challenges were, what I learned from them, what lessons I can take forward into the New Year. It is about putting the current year to rest, and it’s even more.

Let me know what your biggest lessons were after reading the post.

What’s on my nightstand?

It’s been a while since I shared what I was reading. I’ve usually got several books going at the same time.

On the non-fiction side, I just finished Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy. The premise of the book is simple mindshift. Instead of asking How to what you want to do, ask Who can do this for you. At some point, you would like get to the Who question. Ask it first instead. The authors discuss how asking “who” gets you freedom of time, money, relationship, and purpose. Try it this week if you have any how questions. You’ll get to the answer quicker.

Also non-fiction, I just started reading Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee. She talks about the 10 aesthetics of joy and how they relate to the world around us. I was reading the book at the hairdresser this week, and my stylist asked about the book. I’d read enough to say that circle shapes give us joy and pointed out her round mirrors and the large round bulbs she had decorated the salon with for the holidays. The book came out a couple of years ago and just hadn’t found time to start it. Since I’m thinking about joy for my word of the year, I thought it would be a good read.

As for fiction, I am listening to Hope on the Inside by Marie Bostwick. The main character, Hope, has not yet started quilting. We all know that will come. I’m engaged in the book and look forward to a drive on Monday to keep “reading.” 

I’m visiting Quilt Festival

One of my treats for this weekend is going to Virtual Quilt Festival. Thursday, I went to lectures with Paula Nadelstern and Jenny Lyon. I also took a composition class with Katie Pasquini Masopust. Today I have a masterclass with Charlotte Angotti. I signed up for several more lectures — they are a bargain at $10 — and will set aside time to watch them tomorrow. 

You can still sign up today, so check out the program offerings. You have through next Saturday to watch all your classes/lectures. 

Who doesn’t love a mystery?

Starting Monday, Kari Schell of On Point Quilter is offering a free mystery. It’s Christmas themed, though the skills you learn will work beyond that. It’s foundation friendly. If you’re an EQ8 user, head on over to Kari’s site to sign up for the mystery and its free video series.

Make it a creative weekend!

Looking Back and Moving Forward

The end of the year is often filled with planning activities. For many creative people, though, the thought of planning is beyond boring.

It can be black and white — after all, it does involve looking at numbers. When you get right down to it, though, getting your big dreams and goals down on paper and figuring out how to accomplish them is creative. Especially when you get out those colored markers and pencils!

For more than ten years, I have hosted an annual Planning Day. We always start with looking back.

Instead of jumping into what next year looks like, take time to clear out this year. Look at the good, the bad, and the lessons learned. This will let you celebrate what you accomplished and put you in a positive place to start the new year.

Read more…

From My Studio

Hard to believe it’s mid-November. Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. Are you ready? I’m thinking about how different it will be this year. Just as good; just different.  

I hope you are having an amazing creative week!

My goal with this newsletter is to share some highlights of my week, any finds I’ve discovered, and random thoughts about business and life. 

1. I’ve been thinking about planning for 2021. I already have dreams for what I want to accomplish in 2021. The first step for me is to evaluate 2020. Even though it wasn’t quite what any of us expected, I know there is plenty of good to be found if I just look.

That’s my first step – go back and write down all that I achieved in 2020 and the lessons I learned along the way.

Over the years, I’ve written a lot of blog posts about the planning process. I expect to do that in the coming weeks.

Until then, it’s time to plan to plan. Block out times on your calendar to do this. Get planning tools. Get started.

Here’s a blog post from years ago where I wrote about planning to plan. It is still relevant today. I love the idea of creating your own covered boards for your perpetual monthly calendar pages. Have you ever tried that?

2. Were you a fan of Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns? Originally published in black and white in 1993, it is being updated to include 161 new blocks and is now in full color! All of the 4,000+ pieced quilt blocks in the book are illustrated with both a line drawing and sample color suggestions. You can use the book to identify blocks or look for inspiration.

The book is available for pre-orders at a 30% discount on the Electric Quilt website.

3. Speaking of Electric Quilt, the site 5amily, which offers personalized quilting garments and other products, has named Electric Quilt as well as On Point Quilter as one of its top 10 blog sites for quilters. On Point Quilter specializes in online learning of Electric Quilt. Its blog offers tips and inspiration for using Electric Quilt 8. 

4. Are you a fan of Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 designs and tools? They are designed to make quilting easier and more fun. One of their premier designers, Tina Dillard, has released her first book. Poppin’ With Wings showcases stunning flying geese quilts with a pop. You can order the book directly from Tina through her website Quilting Affection Designs. Also, check out her Facebook Page for a tour of the book and to see all the quilts.

5. Are you looking for a fun project for the holidays? Debbie Wendt of Wendt Quilting has created a Winter Tree-Land Quilt Along. This diamond and triangle pieced tree is the perfect shabby chic addition to your table. Debbie is teaching the class in an American Quilters’ Society Facebook group. Details are here.

6. What am I reading and watching?

I just finished reading Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall. This is a coming-of-age story about a nine-year-old white girl from Mississippi who runs away from home in 1963. She is heading to Nashville to find her mother, whom she believes is a country singer. Along the way she meets and befriends a lonely black woman who suffers both loss and abuse. The road trip becomes life-changing for both of them.

In the non-fiction arena, I’ve just started reading Podcasting: How to Start a Podcast and Create a Profitable Podcasting Business by Amanda Mayo. This book was selected by my business coach for her clients to read. Over the years, I’ve thought about creating a podcast. Since 2010, I have recorded more than 100 interviews with creatives. They are available to members of our ICAP Members’ Studio. I’ve considered moving them to a public podcast. As it is, I’m reading the book and applying the lessons to content creation, aka, the blog. If you already have a blog or are planning one, this would be a good reference.

We also just finished watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. Highly recommended.
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