Best Pumpkin Pie

Sometimes I surprise myself. One Thanksgiving I decided to give making a pumpkin pie a try. I picked up a can of Libby’s 100% Pumpkin and looked at the label and picked up my ingredients. I had most of the seasoning at home, but needed the pumpkin, a pie crust and evaporated milk.

Well. The pie crust I grabbed was a graham cracker pie crust. I just wasn’t thinking too much in my rushing around. And guess what? Pumpkin pie tastes so much better with that crust! And I bet if you were to make a ginger snap cookie pie crust – that would be amazing too! There is something about those spices – Yum!!!

Simple Tasty Pumpkin Pie

I follow the directions on the can but also add 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and use the 9 oz graham cracker pie crust. If they only have the smaller pie crust, grab that one and a 6 pack of the mini pie crusts to use up all of your pie mix.

Personal Pies for my Father-in-Law

My father-in-law refuses to eat any other Pumpkin Pie, so I make sure that he has his own (and as a joke this year, we put the small one up front in his refrigerator and hid the larger one behind).

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream of your choice. I also recommend something warm to drink while enjoying this dessert or breakfast dessert if there is any leftover.

Best Mashed Potatoes 

I have discovered how to make the yummiest mashed potatoes over the past few years. 

Mashed Potatoes Ready to be Served

I am no genius, but rather this came from having to host a Thanksgiving with my siblings the year after my mom passed away (she took her meal magic with her) and input from different family members and their ways of making this side dish.

I wanted to share this because sometimes you just want something dynamic and fast. Put your own twist with types of potato, seasonings, and amount of butter and add-ins. That kind of testing is how we figured this out!


5 lb bag of large potatoes

1 stick of butter (salted or unsalted)

3/4 to 1 package of cream cheese 8 oz

1/2 to 3/4 can of evaporated milk 12 fl oz.

1 tsp to 1 Tbsp of freeze dried or minced garlic (fresh can be too bitter).

1 tsp to 1 Tbsp of freeze dried minced onion.

Salt (I keep the large container on hand to salt to taste).

Get all of your ingredients out, and let the butter and cream cheese start to soften a bit. Put an 8 quart pot on the stove and fill just past half way. Add about 1 Tbsp salt, dried garlic and onion to the pot of cold water – this adds flavor to the potatoes as they are cooking! I never measure – just put it in (you can tweak this to your taste). 

Clean and peel your potatoes, setting the clean ones aside in a bowl of salted water to keep from browning. Start cutting your potatoes in half, then each half into quarters and add to pot of water on the stove. Then turn on your burner and bring the water & potatoes to a rolling boil. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t boil over (adjust your temperature accordingly). Cook until they are able to be easily cut with the side of a fork.

When cooked, drain your potatoes in a colander in the sink (be careful of the scalding steam & splashing hot water!). I usually hold the pot handles with a towel or pot holders.

In a large bowl add the potatoes, 1 stick of butter, 3/4 of the cream cheese, 1/2 can of evaporated milk, and 1 Tbsp of salt. I use a hand mixer because that is what I have and I mix everything together making sure to taste and add more ingredients as needed (if dry, add more evaporated milk – a little at a time).

I hope this helps you out a bit with your mashed potatoes at any time of the year!

PS – I will add more photos as we make ours on Thanksgiving day!

How To Make Ceramic Beads Magazine Article Artisan Jewelry Times

If you have ever wanted a look into how I make my ceramic beads, I have written an article for the online magazine: Artisan Jewelry Times called Ceramic Clay Bead Basics, where I go over all of the basic details about making and firing ceramic beads.

Marsha Neal Studio Article Preview June 2016

In the June 2016 article, I discuss clay and glaze materials, texturing beads, making bead holes and keeping them round, how to load your bisque (not glazed) kiln load and how to load your bead trees for the glaze firing (up to cone 6).

AJT June 2016 front cover

You can download a digital version of this article through the Artisan Jewelry Times website, AJT Etsy shop, and get updates through their Facebook page.

How to Juggle Clay Beads through Social Media, Shows and Classes

Being a beadmaker makes me feel at times that I should also be a juggler.

Porcelain and Stoneware Spiral Beads

Porcelain and Stoneware Spiral Beads

As I work on new beads and objects, I am also prepping for shows, online sales and some classes.

New Marsha Neal Studio FaceBook Group

New Marsha Neal Studio FaceBook Group

I’ve started a new FaceBook Group called Marsha Neal Studio Group Share. The direction being that there is a place for me & interested customers/friends to bounce ideas off of each other. I will be showing off new items, maybe selling items here and there, and asking for customers to post items that they have made with Marsha Neal Studio objects.

FaceBook Group Handmade Component Bazaar May 11 & 12, 2016

FaceBook Group Handmade Component Bazaar May 11 & 12, 2016

May 10 & 11, 2016 I am going to be a featured selling artist on Handmade Components Bazaar through Facebook.

May 21, 2016 I will be working at Sarafina Art House for their Sprung event, and teaching a braided bead bracelet Make & Take at 3pm.

2016 Bellefonte Arts Festival

On May 21, 2016 the Bellefonte Arts Festival is happening in North Wilmington, DE. I have my work in a case inside of the Bellefonte Arts Gallery if you want to check out my work along with enjoying the many artists, food, and music the festival is having.

The Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee, WI is going to be so much fun. It is always great to see so many friends (customers and vendors).

Food week in Milwaukee is always delightful!

Food week in Milwaukee is always delightful!

I cannot wait to get some cheese curds and a cold beer! This is usually my first stop off of the airplane. Seriously!

Milwaukee beer and cheese curds!

Milwaukee beer and cheese curds!

You can find Nikki (Thornburg Bead Studio) and myself splitting corner booth #608 at the Convention Center.

Thornburg Bead Studio and Marsha Neal Studio Booth #608

Thornburg Bead Studio and Marsha Neal Studio Booth #608

And this year, you can get into the show for FREE!!! Here is the pass you will need to bring with you when you register:

Free B&B Show Admission June 2016

Free B&B Show Admission June 2016

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 night from 9-11pm is the Special Midnight Madness Sale in the Hyatt.

Midnight Madness at the Hyatt

Midnight Madness at the Hyatt

Thursday June 9, 2016 4-8pm Preview shopping for registered attendees.

Friday June 10 – Sunday June 12, 2016 is public open Vendor Marketplace which you can use the above coupon for.

I am wondering how am I ever to get through this juggling act without dropping any of the balls. Somehow it happens and before you know it, the fall season will be knocking on our door…

Art Jewelry Elements Blog “Component of the Month” for April 2016

Every month Art Jewelry Elements blog contributors participate together to make something with one of the artists “Component of the Month”.

April 2016 was this handmade Amulet by my friend Jenny Davies-Reazor.

 Jenny and I were at Bead Fest April right next to each other, so when I saw she had a few of these available, I just had to have one!

 I have been a bit obsessed with small hanging vessels for a couple of years now and have graduated to getting a “Now That’s a Jig” for making some really interesting wire forms to suspend pieces with.

 I knew that I wanted this piece of Jenny’s to be out where I could see it every day.

I just LOVE the spirals and swirls. It is like being taken into swirls and spirals of water by a rocky coast – just falling deep into the meditation that it brings to mind.

 I used Dark Anodized Steel Wire (sealed with some Renaissance Wax to keep it from rusting) and made this decided upon steel form. I then cut a long length of the 20ga wire to attach the amulet.

 This is what it looks like finished and ready to use.

 I am a collector of seed pods and dried garden blooms. So I added some to the amulet to hold some of the memories of those seasons now passed – time spent exploring the garden with my little kids.

And for now, it graces my working area of my bench along with another swirl steel holder waiting for another vessel to join it.

Please make sure to stop by the Art Jewelry Elements blog hop to see what these other wonderful artists have created with their Jenny Davies-Reazor Amulet:


Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio (you are here)

Alison of Alison Adorns

AJE Team: