The road ends, but the journey continues...

Weekend Notes 2.18/19.23

Love, Harp Guitars, Oatmeal Scotchies…and back again to love.

February is the love month.

You know, the 14th is St Valentine’s Day and all of that.

In our family, holiday celebrations often last longer than the actual 24-hour day. Hence, here it is a few days after the 14th and yes, hubby and I are still enjoying the love month.

What’s that got to do with harp guitars and cookies? Bear with me. I’m in one of those ‘everything’s interconnected’ type of mind right now.

I remember when I saw my first harp guitar.

It was hanging on a wall at McCabe’s in Santa Monica, CA.

The same time and place where I strummed that special resonator hubby encouraged me to get, but I declined.

McCabe's vintage harpguitar

McCabe’s is a wonderous place. Museum-like with vintage stringed instruments hanging on walls in rooms filled with bookcases of sheet music and racks of pick-me-up-and-try-me instruments for sale. Bustling with the local musician community of both the vintage and newbie type, too.

Scroll up to 2020/2021.

I found an orchestra made up entirely of harp guitars playing The Water Is Wide in a virtual performance on-line.

It touched me deeply while in the midst of ‘lockdown’.

A folk song of Scottish origin

…which brings me to the oatmeal scotchies.

Get it? 🙂

Every so often, I get a hankering for something butterscotchey. Simply popping a Werther’s wasn’t going to satisfy this time around. So, the handful of butterscotch baking chips I had leftover from who knows how long ago, got baked up recently in a batch of oatmeal scotchies.

Oatmeal Scotchies Recipe on chip bag

The recipe (on the back of the chip package) calls for 1 2/3 cup of those chips, but I had to supplement them with leftover choco chips and walnuts to come to the 1 2/3 cup requirement. Along with my normal adjustments on commercial cookie recipes – replacing the flour, baking powder/soda and some of the salt with self-rising flour and swapping out ½ cup of the 1 cup of butter with ½ cup of Crisco – I also decided to continue adjusting the recipe by replacing ½ t of the 1 t vanilla with ½ t orange extract.

Yeah, that’s how I follow a recipe.

However, believe me, those cookies turned out fresher & brighter because of that vanilla-orange combo.

The water is wide I cannot get over
Neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I

chorus from ‘The WAter is Wide’

…we both shall row, my love and I…


  1. Jennie

    I love this post, Laura. Harp guitars and oatmeal Scottish cookies, what’s not to love?

    • laura bruno lilly


      • Jennie


  2. Marie A Bailey

    I didn’t know such a beautiful instrument existed. Thank you, Laura, for introducing it to me. And that song … brought tears to my eyes. Your oatmeal scotchies recipe sounds so good … between you and Ally Bean, I might have up to take up baking 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      HA! Maybe so, Marie!

  3. Ally Bean

    I haven’t had Oatmeal Scotchies in years. I loved them at one point adding orange zest + orange extract to them. Like you I make any recipe mine, figuring it’s a starting point not the rule of law.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yep – kinda like that granola recipe you shared lately!

  4. marissthequilter

    Ah, the power of love.

    • laura bruno lilly

      …she muses wistfully whilst (!) stitching an heirloom coverlet for her grandson…

  5. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    “The Water is Wide” has always been a favorite, and I love this rendition! Beautiful instruments! I have never seen them before! Thank you for this lovely post, Laura! <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re welcome, Cheryl. I thought you might be familiar with this piece as per your background as I understand it via your blog posts! Different renditions often reveal subtle nuances that open up familiar and well-loved tunes to a deeper appreciation.

  6. Jennie

    Laura, I’m embarrassed to say I have never seen a harp guitar. What a beautiful instrument with a lovely sound!

    • laura bruno lilly

      No need to be embarrassed! Discovery is it’s own reward!

      • Jennie

        Yes, it is. Thanks, Laura.

  7. Jane's Heartsong

    I will pass on the cookies but definitely give a nod to your ingenuity. I was so impressed by some of the finger-picking in this compilation and the tune is lovely. I listened to the video a couple of times. I am happy for you and your hubby that you are making Valentine’s a good month.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Jane for taking a listen. I hope you’re able to get out and about into the wildlife as the season thaws out a bit.
      I look forward to your next batch of photos.

  8. Laura

    I enjoyed the video very much…so soothing to listen to! I have always enjoyed this tune.
    Funny about the butterscotch…I keep Werther’s candy on hand. I also had some leftover scotch chips from who knows how long ago, and recently through them into some brownie batter along with nuts. They turned out pretty tasty. 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Never underestimate the power of The Lauras!

      • Laura

        Apparently, I cannot tell the difference between through and threw. Ha, ha!

  9. Wow the harp guitar is amazing, the sound is breathtaking! I enjoyed the video you shared and it made me smile! Some oatmeal scotchies sounds wonderful!

  10. LA

    Love this!

  11. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    I listened to the video this morning and I am boo-hooing over here.
    Thank you for starting my day with such beautiful and inspiring music.
    So powerful and full of love.
    This instrument is absolutely amazing.
    My three sons each play the violin and guitars.
    I used to play the piano so many moons ago.
    I am recently enrolled in ukulele classes.
    Even though my playing ability is so limited, the simple tunes make me happy.
    And that is what I love about music.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh Chela, thanks for the touching comment. I am thrilled to hear you are currently taking uke lessons. Easily portable and along with your kazoo a wonderful duet can be played!
      And that is what I love about music – it’s for everyone!
      I hope your week is filled with all those you hold dear.

  12. piecefulwendy

    And here I am, following along with your train of thought, listening to a favorite song of mine, on guitars I have never heard of. What fun! I’m sending the link to this video to my son, who plays guitar. Thanks!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Seems like we’re on the same train of thought-wave! I’m delighted to pass on new musical delights to you and your son. Happy quilting, Wendy.

  13. Lavinia Ross

    What a wonderful video! I love harp guitar and The Water is Wide is one of my favorite folk songs.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I’ve often thought those of us (like you & me) who have long experience with playing our jumbo sized 12-strings would make the transition to the harp guitar slightly easier than other guitarists!

      • Lavinia Ross

        I went to a harp guitar retreat 5 years ago so I could try one out and learn about them. To be able to play it easily, the construction and size seem even more important. Some of the ones there were bears to handle, others far easier. Someday, I would love to make one. Three instruments on my bucket list are a harp guitar, fiddle and a National Steel Tricone Polychrome resophonic guitar.

        • laura bruno lilly

          I’m not surprised at most of those harp guitars being bears to handle – just the weight/balance issue alone would be the bear for me! Maddy (as per the link in this post, my National Triolian Tenor Resonator) is not large. At first, she was awkward and heavy – but once my body position adapted, she’s become a complete joy to play!
          Keep pickin’ and plunkin’ Lavinia!

  14. Janis @

    I’ve never been very adventuresome when following a recipe, but your changes (especially the orange extract) sound good. I remember watching that virtual performance during lockdown… thanks for the reminder!

    • laura bruno lilly

      How cool that we both had the same ‘lockdown experience’ in the first viewing this same virtual performance!

      • Janis @

        Those instruments not only produce an amazing sound, but they are also true works of art.

        • laura bruno lilly

          Yes, indeed. Luthiers who can create a work of art both visually and aurally are true (he)artists.

  15. zippyquilts

    Wow! That was nice to listen to. I didn’t know the name of that tune, and I certainly hear phrases from other folk songs I heard when we lived in Maine. Thanks, and happy Valentine’s month to you and your husband 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, folk songs with Celtic/Irish/Scottish roots do have that certain ‘similarity’ along with that compelling draw.

  16. L. Marie

    Laura, I didn’t know a harp guitar existed! You learn something new every day. ? What a lovely, calming song for the harp guitar orchestra to play.
    Those cookies sound yummy! All you need is milk! ?

    • laura bruno lilly

      …or a strong cuppa java!

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