The holiday season is upon us

This is going to be a very strange holiday season. Normally we see friends and family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 2020 has been a different kind of year though. Yesterday we both had the 2020 experience that so many others have already had to experience. We both had to go get tested for Covid-19 due to finding out that Vic was exposed to Covid -19. We both have been so careful. Hence forth, there we sat in the car in a line for two hours waiting to be tested. I ended up with a sunburn. Finally we got our test and it really wasn’t bad at all. I have heard all kinds of things from people saying that it was painful. Or it made their eyes water. Some lady on the news a couple of months ago claimed it felt like her brain was being hit with the six inch Q-tip that they use. How dramatic is that? Honestly, it just tickled. So if you feel the need to get tested but was concerned about the six inch Q-tip, go get the test. Easy peasy. Both of our test came out “Not Detected”. We are safe.

Thanksgiving will not feel the same this year. We will be home by ourselves. We will watch the parade on television and just have a leisurely day. I think there will still be a parade, but not sure about that either. I will try to make it a little special. I plan on making Chicken Marsala. It’s one of Vic’s favorite dishes that I make. So we will have that with some pasta and a glass of wine. It will be a very quiet day. Kind of like any other day really.

Christmas – that’s going to be a tough one. Put up a tree, don’t put up a tree because nobody else is going to see it? Vic asked me if we should even bother to put a tree up this year. After all, we aren’t having any company. Who’s going to see it? Of Course I want to put a tree up. After all, we will see it. We will be here. It would be really depressing to not put up a tree. I love decorating it and admiring the lights on it. It is a tradition.

Life goes on for us. We are actually fortunate. We are alive and healthy. Unfortunately for some, it did not go on. Many people have lost loved ones, their lives will never be the same. Between the pandemic and the election it has been a very memorable year. Yes, 2020 is a year that I think many of us will always remember. I don’t like to wish my life away, but I’m ready for 2021. Hopefully, it will be a better year.

Busy day, I need a nap!

I had a busy day today. I worked in my jewelry shop for about seven hours, then ballet workout for an hour. Thinking about dinner, I decided to get out my recipe books and see about making something different for a change. While looking through the books, I was kind of hungry. Too early for dinner, I got out a package of Honey Glazed Cashews. I opened them up and munched while looking at recipes. The next thing you know, I’ve eaten way to many cashews and I’m exhausted and I’m full. I need a nap, but now it’s time to make dinner. Hmmm, looks like ribs and beans tonight. Good thing I cook in large batches and freeze them. No nap for me though. I saw a lot of yummy looking recipes to make for another day!

Daily life

Earlier today I went for my contact and eye glass exam. I put it off as long as I could due to Covid 19. But, you have to do what you have to do. It’s not bad really, except when they dilate the eyes. Even with those funky dark glasses they give you to wear home, it is hard to see for a while. It’s a fiasco for me. I have to have someone drive me, because for some reason, when my eyes get dilated, I can’t even see enough to drive. I realized this the very first time when I turned forty. Well, that was just right on time, right on schedule. I had 20/20 vision up until that birthday! I hadn’t even realized it until one day , shortly after my fortieth birthday, when one of my children that was about ten years old at that time became sick with a cold. I went and got the cold medicine out of the cabinet and where did all those words go that are printed on the bottle? I had to have her read the directions to me. My ten year old! Oh no! I made an appointment the next morning. A couple of days later I was sporting a brand new pair of contacts. All was right with the world again! I have been wearing them ever since. Contacts during the day and glasses at night if I wanted to see my phone, or the television, lol. Oh well, at least with contacts we can kind of cheat mother nature.

The weather here in Sarasota, Florida has been cloudy and rainy the last few days. The temperature was cooler, but today it has been cloudy, hot and muggy. We had to turn the air conditioner back on. Cooler days ahead though, I hope.

I have been working on my Gemstone Arts Designs jewelry shop non stop. Mostly trying to perfect the photographs and the SEO (search engine optimization). The algorithm on Etsy can be a tricky thing. Just when you think you have all the rules figured out, they change. So, constantly changing. Therefore, we have to change all the keywords and hope we are within their algorithm. I have recently changed the look of my shop. You should check out my shop. I have some very pretty jewelry. Some are perfect for fall.

I love fall colors. The ending of a season and a beginning of another, a renewal so to speak. The weather, the plants, the clothes and jewelry that we wear. Even our recipes become different. I wish daylight savings time didn’t change though. I like having it lighter longer in the day. When the time changes, it gets dark outside too early.

I’m always adding new items to the shop. I will be adding wine glass charms soon for the holiday season. I already started making them and they are really amazing if I don’t say so myself! If you are at a party and you set your glass of wine down, sometimes its hard to remember which one is yours when other people set theirs down right besides your glass. At least with these charms, you will know which one belongs to you and which one belongs to them. I can hardly wait to get photos of them and get them added to my site. I think they will be a big hit.

With fall comes those delicious fall recipes. I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for Apple Crunch! I still remember the first time I had it. I was in fifth grade at a fall festival. I loved it from the first bite and after all these years, I still do. I use to make it every fall for my children. They love it too. I will share my favorite recipe with you. I better get busy. Lots of work to do!

Here is a recipe for Apple crunch. When served warm with ice cream it makes a really scrumptious treat! If you make it, let me know how it goes.

Preheat oven to 375. Place 3 cups sliced or diced apples, 1 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour (rounding) and pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a pan. In another bowl, put 1/4 teaspoon soda, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup oatmeal (quick or one minute) and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Mix together and spread over apples, then melt 1/2 cup butter to spread over mixture. Bake 30 minutes at 375. Serves 6 – 8.

Our first cool morning since summer

This morning we woke, got showered, ate breakfast and took our dog for his walk. I actually had to wear a sweater for the first time in months. It was a cool 65 Degrees. It is the coolest it has been in months. That may not seem cool to some people. But when you have had 80 to 98 degrees for months, it is cool, and it was amazing. We were actually able to open up the house and get fresh cool air throughout. We have had the air conditioner running for months.

I have been in the house working on jewelry for my shop and on the computer non stop for days, maybe weeks. I have lost track of time. For the first time in months I actually went somewhere today besides the grocery store. With my mask on, I went to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. It was incredibly beautiful. So many different flowers and trees and gardens to look at. I had such a wonderful time. If you haven’t been there and you are in the area, you should go. Especially if you like trees, plants, and flowers. It was such a relaxing day. I took so many pictures. I will post a few here. There was a couple of really amazing Australian Banyan trees. One of them must have been a couple hundred years old by looking at the roots.

There were a few waterfalls.


We walked around for about an hour and a half. There were also some beautiful flowers and butterflies. The weather was perfect.

It’s Almost Halloween!

Halloween will be here soon. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. However, I’m sure this year will be much different than in the past due to the pandemic. I’m expecting to see very few if any trick or treaters. I will buy some candy though, just in case. Chances are I will be sending that candy to work with Vic for the people that work in the shop the day after Halloween.

When my kids were small, I took them trick or treating every Halloween. After dinner they would all get dressed in their Halloween costumes. We would all head out, them carrying their cute little Halloween buckets to get their trick or treat candy. Just about every year it was the same routine. Walk around the neighborhood and then just a little further. They usually got tired before me. We were always home early. They never wanted to walk very far. Not like when I was little. Back in the day, when I went trick or treating, my big sister would take me out trick or treating. I carried a pillow case and walked until I could hardly carry it anymore. We would go home, dump it out, and go back out in the opposite direction. I had enough candy to last until Christmas for me and everyone else.

When the kids got to be teenagers, they didn’t want their mom walking them on Halloween night to go trick or treating. The three of them went walking and I stayed home on candy duty. I didn’t mind. I loved to see all the costumes and happy faces.

One year, instead of candy, I gave out breakfast bars. I bought so many boxes of breakfast bars, but I knew I would have a lot of kids coming to the door. I didn’t want to run out. I thought it might be nice to give out something that was a little nutritious instead of candy. I figured everyone gave candy. How many will give out breakfast bars? A couple of my friends told me “Kids don’t want nutritious breakfast bars, they want candy”.

The next year at Halloween, I bought candy for the trick or treaters. In fact, I bought six big bags of candy because we always had a lot of trick or treaters. Wouldn’t you know it? The kids from the year before remembered where they got the breakfast bars and were looking for more this year. They would knock at the door and I would compliment their costumes and tossed some candy in their bags. They would look at me and say “What’s that?” I said “Candy” they would say “Last year you gave out breakfast bars. They were good. Are you giving out any of those?” They seemed disappointed to get candy. Kids can be full of surprises.

About seven years ago, my youngest daughter called me and asked me to go walking with her and two of my grandchildren when they went trick or treating. They were so cute in their costumes. We walked for quite a while until they were tired and then we went out for something to eat. It was a fun night.

This coming Halloween, I will be staying home. If you are staying home, you can still make it a fun Halloween night. You can make it a family game night. Or, make it a family movie night. Make some popcorn, grab your favorite beverage play a board game and/or put a movie on. My favorite Halloween movie is Hocus Pocus. It stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker along with other actors and actresses. It’s a 1993 movie, but I think it’s great. Do you have a favorite Halloween movie? What is it?

If you are venturing out for Halloween this year and even if you’re not, there are some really great Halloween items to shop for. I have four items listed below and where you can find them!

  1. Halloween Witch Necklace flying on a broom, of course! You can find this in my shop GemstoneArtsDesigns. This is a cute necklace available in either silver plated or stainless steel. Here is the link:
  2. Two Masks Washable Cotton Face Mask with Filter Pocket by CarolArtBoutique. These mask are adorable and perfect for the fall season. Here is the link:
  3. Friends Halloween Shirt by RJCCustomGraphics. The perfect color t-shirt this season! Pair them up with your favorite jeans. Here is the link:
  4. Monogrammed Halloween Bucket by TSKMonogrammedGifts. Kids are sure to love these to go trick or treating or even carrying their school items. Here is the link:

I have been working in my shop, getting it ready for the holidays. There is so much to do and so little time. Have a fun Halloween and don’t eat too much candy! Happy Halloween!


Thank you for stopping by. Let me introduce myself. My name is Donna Kupka and this is my brand new blog. I may fumble through this one! This is where I tell you who I am and what I am about and what in the world am I doing writing a blog.

I have a few hobbies. I love to make handcrafted jewelry. I love to write. I enjoy reading a good book and articles and spending time at home with my immediate family which would be my significant other Vic and our dog, Jason. Jason is a beautiful Red Irish Setter that hasn’t figured out that he is a dog yet. He is six years old and he seems very independent for a dog. We are hoping to add a new member of the family soon. A new Gordon Setter puppy, hopefully around December or January. Also, I use to play the guitar when I was younger from around age fifteen until twenty one. I ended up selling that beautiful guitar when I was twenty one, with the hopes that I would have another guitar soon. You know what happens. Life gets busy and here it is forty years later and I told Vic about missing my guitar. He had no idea because I never said anything about it before. On my birthday about three weeks ago, Vic gave me a new guitar. I was so excited, so happy. Now another hobby that I have is playing guitar. It has been so very long, but I guess it’s like riding a bike. You may be a little rusty at first but you never really forget. I have three children that are all grown and are out on there own, doing things they love to do and then there are the five grandchildren so far.

The articles on my blog that I will be writing about are about life in general, ideas, hopefully some helpful suggestions and yes I love to make jewelry so I will write about that.

I went back to college in 2016 and earned my paralegal Associate in Science Degree. In 2018 I landed a job in a law firm that specializes in family and criminal law. I worked there for a year. I loved that job. I lost that job this past December 27th. The attorney told me he was sorry, but he could no longer afford to keep me. I was devastated. Everything happens for a reason though. Chin up, I started to look for a new job and so far haven’t found one. With the Covid-19 outbreak jobs became very limited. I even had an interview that was cancelled because the attorney closed down the law firm due to Covid-19. Application after application went out. When I did get a response, they all seem to want someone with three to five years experience and most paid next to nothing So the question is, how do you get experience when nobody gives you a chance? Apparently one year with a law firm is not enough. Which brought me back to my hobby of making jewelry. My time has been so limited in the last three years due to school and working, I didn’t have time for a hobby.

I hadn’t planned it at all. I had given away so much of my jewelry supplies because they were taking up too much space and I wasn’t using them. I’m glad I saved some of them. One day when I didn’t have anything to do, I decided to make a new bracelet and pair of earrings for myself. I dug through some of my supplies and made a bracelet and pair of earrings for me and that was it. Once I put my hands on the tools and started working with the wire and beads, I was hooked again. Since I wasn’t working, I made some jewelry and opened a shop on Etsy. I’m still making things and adding them but the shop is open for business! I am hoping to write on my blog about once a week, time permitting. It would be nice to meet some other people on here that write. Maybe exchange ideas. Really, write about life in general. That is my story. I hope to communicate with others and I will be writing again soon. Feel free to comment on my posts as feedback is always a good thing most of the time, lol. Drop by and say hello.


If I had a power color, it would be sparkle. Landon Brinkley


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