DIY Sweetgrass Basket Craft Inspired by Gullah Tradition by Josie Riviera

Welcome back to Daufuskie Island, where every corner tells a story. This island is off the coast of South Carolina and is a 1 hour ferry ride from Hilton Head Island.

Today I’m sharing how to make a sweetgrass basket:

Gullah Tradition

Materials:

  • Coiled rope or raffia
  • Colored yarn or embroidery thread
  • Large-eye needle
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Start by coiling the rope or raffia into a tight circle, securing the end with a small stitch.
  2. Using the needle, weave the colored yarn or embroidery thread in and out of the coils, creating intricate patterns.
  3. Continue coiling and weaving, shaping the basket as you go.
  4. Experiment with different colors and patterns to add a personal touch.
  5. Once you reach the desired size, secure the end with a final stitch and trim any excess.

This simple sweetgrass basket craft allows you to bring a piece of Gullah tradition into your own creative space. Enjoy the relaxing process of crafting while connecting to the island’s cultural heritage!

I’m thrilled that my sweet beach romance, is available on Amazon. Immersed in Gullah culture, this book has a mystery that may or may not be solved by the end of the story! Grab your copy today.

 

Pink Coral Island

If you prefer episodic reading, Pink Coral Island will also be available on Kindle Vella.

Kindle Vella

Daufuskie Delights: A Culinary Journey Through Gullah Flavors by Josie Riviera

Welcome to Daufuskie Island, where time slows down and the rhythms of Gullah culture come to life. This inviting getaway off the South Carolina coast is more than an island; it’s a testament to the resilience and creativity of the Gullah people, descendants of West African slaves. These people were brought to work on the plantations of the American South and founded communities in the Sea Islands, particularly Daufuskie.

I live in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, which is about four hours away from Hilton Head Island.

When my family and I visit the island…

We board a ferry from Hilton Head Island to Daufuskie, which takes about an hour. The ferry runs four times a day. Once we arrive, wandering the sandy path beneath moss-draped oaks is one of my favorite ways to explore the island. Or, you can rent a golf cart.

Today, I have a simple recipe for you to recreate a taste of Daufuskie at home:

Daufuskie

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onions for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Cook grits according to package instructions, using a mixture of chicken broth and heavy cream for added flavor.
  2. In a skillet, cook chopped bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and set it aside.
  3. Sauté onions in the bacon fat until softened, then add minced garlic.
  4. Add shrimp to the skillet, cooking until pink and opaque.
  5. Stir in cooked grits, shredded cheese, and half of the crispy bacon. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve the shrimp and grits, topped with the remaining bacon, and garnish with chopped green onions.

Stay tuned for the next blog post, where I’ll share another delicious Daufuskie Island recipe.

Kindle Vella

I’m thrilled that my sweet beach romance novel, Pink Coral Island, is available on Kindle Vella. I was thrilled to explore this episodic format, and I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

I spent many months researching this book and the Gullah culture, which takes place on a fictional island off the South Carolina coast. The culture is an important part of the book, and becomes almost like another character.

Kindle Vella is available here, and the first three episodes are free! Start reading today.

 

Irish Tea Traditions: From a Cozy Morning Brew to Afternoon Chats

Whether you’re starting the day or winding it down, the art of crafting the perfect cup of Irish tea is simple.

Here’s your cheat sheet:
  1. Boil fresh water and warm the teapot. Fresh water is the foundation.
  2. Measure the tea leaves (or tea bags): A teaspoon of loose tea leaves per person, plus a little extra for the pot.
  3. Pour and Steep: Hot water takes center stage, dancing with tea leaves for 3-5 minutes. Go bold or go home—your call.
  4. Warm Your Cup: Splash some hot water into your cup; think of it like prepping a cozy nest for your tea.
  5. Customize with Milk and Sugar: Choices, choices. Black, strong, with milk and a bit of sugar—make it your own. I prefer my tea black.

Irish Tea

 

Now let’s set the scene: Picture your friend’s kitchen, perhaps with the delicious aroma of warm scones.

Tea Selection: Irish breakfast tea is no-nonsense and reliable. A bit strong, but perfect.

Delightful Treats: Serve scones and sandwiches that fill you up, and maybe a bit of cake.

The Art of Conversation: Tea is poured, treats are passed around, and stories flow. No fancy formalities; it’s all about catching up, laughing, and sharing tales from the local pub.

Enjoying the Ritual: There is no rush during an Irish Afternoon Tea. Take your time and enjoy the simple pleasures of good company.

Sláinte!

It’s a 99 cent Amazon Kindle Countdown for my sweet “Irish” romance, 1-800-IRELAND (US only).

A strong-minded Irishwoman is pursuing her dream. A disillusioned businessman is ready to retire.
Can two determined people find true love at the end of an Irish rainbow?

Irishwoman Kathleen Kelly wants to renovate her new teahouse in America to a sparkling shine, enticing droves of customers to Roses, NC. But the project quickly takes a turn for the worse when her hard work falls flat.

Rob Taylor knows a thing or two about running a business. He’s built Rob’s Marvelous Muffins into a thriving business. With Rob in Miami and Kathleen in Roses, a May-December romance isn’t part of Kathleen’s carefully laid-out plans. Besides, they’ve both admitted to each other how unlucky they are in love. It’s better to leave romance out of the picture and stick to friendship and hard work. However, Kathleen has no choice but to face what she is most afraid of … commitment.

And it will take more than hot tea and marvelous muffins to bridge the gap between them.

Grab your copy of 1-800-IRELAND today before the price goes up.

 

Available in ebook, paperback, large print paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Bridal Shower

After an unusually windy and cold winter in Florida, today we welcome spring, and with warmth and flowers, we expect the season’s events. Graduations for two of my grandchildren, weddings and bridal showers for three young cousins, engagement for three relatives–a happy time to enjoy.

The last bridal showers are attended were years ago, long before the covid that messed up our lives. Three of them popped into my mind this morning.

My niece’s shower was kind of conventional with the women of the family bringing household items from the bride’s registry.

But my daughter had two unusual showers. The first one organized by her high school friends had a lingerie theme. With only me and my sister from the ‘older’ generation in attendance, the bunch of young women had a blast, giving the bride a collection of bedroom…hmm…cute things!

To compensate, one of my friends threw another shower attended by our friends. The guests were asked to bring a useful gift and more importantly to write ”good advice” for the bride. Several of our friends put together a cookbook for my daughter. As the mother of the bride, I prepared a Ten Commandments for a Happy Long-Lasting Marriage based on my experience. Later many mothers asked me a copy for their daughters/sons about to get married.

Another unusual bridal shower I attended was that of my daughter-in-law. The bride already had a shower organized by a friend and this one was prepared by my daughter. My son and his fiancée had recently bought a house and she wanted him to remodel it, so my son asked to ‘borrow’ her second shower and make it a wedding shower or more specifically a ‘groom shower’. The guests (male and female) received a copy of registry at Home Depot and Harbor Freight Tools. On the day of the shower, the happy couple opened their gifts together, and my son received every tool you can think of, from electric saw, to electric drill, tool cabinet, etc… We never laughed so much.

If you have a wedding or shower coming up, use your imagination and gift the young couple with something that will really help.

We’re All Heroes

They’re all heroes who pay a big price for freedom—The Ukrainian mom who spies for her country; her three small kids who struggle to survive; the wounded major who gets them out of a war-zone; Lauren, the flight attendant who brings them to the US; her parents who receive them in their home; and her ex-fiancé, Dr. Jake, who operates on the injured. And let’s not forget the two German shepherd puppies that dive in a pool to save a two-year old. Will the many crises they face head-on strengthen or destroy Lauren and Jake’s relationship?
We’re All Heroes is book 12 of the Love Plans Series.

FAKE FIANCEE ebook Audio book

Romantic Suspense FAKE FIANCEE “It was so good I couldn’t put the book down. I literally cooked while reading! Awesome! Thank you so much for making my world a better place.”

Joshua Dutton’s lifestyle and tabloids pictures threaten his father’s senatorial campaign. His parents insist on finding him a sweet temporary fiancée to repair the damage. With only her German shepherd for friend, Emma Cassiero struggles with a heap of problems. Attraction sizzles between her and Josh, but no one mentions the secret deal made by her stepmother and the Senior Duttons. When the truth comes out Emma is devastated. Were Josh’s kisses part of the charade? Has Josh lost her or would he be able to team up with her German shepherd to love and protect her?

A Bride For Prince Paul

A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL ebook Audiobook

“Mona Risk has written another winner. Prince Paul is handsome and noble, and Amy is a dedicated doctor. Enjoy the sights of Paris and France, while reading this heartwarming romance.”

She can’t abandon her patients for his crown! To please his dying grandfather and protect his country’s autonomy, Prince Paul of Rensy Island must marry an American doctor, descendant of a Rensian princess. Paul, a confirmed bachelor, agrees to meet Amy incognito as her driver, during her vacation in Paris. Although her career and ex-boyfriend are major interferences, attraction sizzles between Amy and Paul, but the unexpected announcement of her engagement to the Crown Prince of Rensy Island infuriates her. Can Paul convince her that he loves her, in spite of his lies by omission? Would he be able to persuade her to put aside her medical dream and become his princess? The inspiration for the story: While cruising the British Isles, I visited Guernsey, in the English Channel. This quaint island with special privileges and autonomy became the setting of my new story—Rensy Island.