So…this is goodbye

Hey, friends, blog readers, if there are still any of you around.

I’ve been blogging for a long time. Eight years now. And the time has come for me to say goodbye. I considered just quietly going away and letting this blog just peter out, but I figured those of you who have been regular visitors and those of you who have been here for a while deserve better than that.

When I began blogging, it was a lot more fun than it is now. Blogs were all the rage. People actually read blogs and took the time to comment. Things are different now. The face of blogging has changed. People are more likely to respond on Instagram and Facebook. Those platforms are more visual, easier to interact with, etc. Blogs still have their place. But with things changing as they have, I found that a lot of time and energy goes into maintaining a blog with very little to no return on your time. It takes a ton of time to create your projects, photograph them, edit the photos, write the blog post, and then…nothing. A lot of times it feels like I’m talking to myself.

And you know what? I totally get it!! I rarely read blogs anymore either. And I used to read lots of them. I no longer take the time to leave comments. So believe me, I totally get it. Things simply have changed. Now I find that I enjoy the ease and simplicity of Instagram rather than a blog.

I will no longer be designing for Gossamer Blue. The last year with Gossamer Blue has been rather stressful, with lots of changes expected to take place. But with recent events that have been very disappointing, I don’t feel I will ever purchase or promote any Gossamer Blue products again. I just can no longer support them.

With all that has transpired over the last year, I’ve felt my joy and passion over paper crafting just pack up and leave. I need some time to find myself in this area again. I need to just be able to do things for me, for my own enjoyment. I’m not sure when that will be. But I hope I find my desire return sometime soon.

And that’s not the only thing. I’ve begun a new business that has been keeping me busy, and I plan to spend more time growing that. Right now I’m setting up a new Instagram site and website and thinking of ways to promote my little business. With that and my busy family, I find my days are quickly filled.

So, to all of you who have stopped by and read this blog over the years, Thank you! To all of you who have taken the time to comment and email and interact with me in various ways, thank you! To all of you who have pinned my projects and shown love and support that way, thank you! I truly do appreciate all the ways this blog has allowed me to connect with each of you, and I appreciate each one of you immensely. I will miss you.

You can still find me on Instagram, and I might still upload projects to my Studio Calico gallery, if and when I feel like it. So, if you’d like to keep in touch, you can follow me there.

Much Love!

 

 

 

Gossamer Blue May card set

I have a few more projects to share with you using the May kits form Gossamer Blue.

The Life Pages kit always has great insert cards in it in various sizes for pocket page scrapboooking. I usually love them so much that I just have to make something with them, even though I’m not doing much pocket page scrapbooking at the moment.

This month’s cards were so fun and colorful. I decided to uses few of them to make a set of small note cards.

hello card:

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All of these were made with the 3″x4″ cards. This one also uses a wood veneer word and some tiny puffy  x stickers.

You got this card:

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How cute is that wood veneer cactus? I paired it with a phrase die cut and a puffy heart sticker.

Yay card:

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This one stayed simple with just a take out coffee cup die cut and a puffy sticker.

Delighted card:

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I couldn’t resist going a little “punny” with this one. That light bulb die just fit so well with this delighted card. I also added some tiny stamped hearts from the Life Pages stamp set.

I thought about making little patterned paper envelopes to coordinate with these little cards, but didn’t get around to it. But how cute would that be? Even more so if you tie them all up with a bit of ribbon or twine for a sweet and easy little gift.

Again, here are your links for the month of May:

Main kit

Life Pages kit

add-ons

galleries:

Designer scrapbook gallery

Designer cards and projects gallery

Designer Life Pages gallery

Have an awesome day!

March GB reveal day 2

Ready for more Gossamer Blue projects? How about a few cards today?

I split my time equally between card making and scrapbooking this month and made four of each. This was a record breaker month for me, I think, as far as number of projects goes.

This month, in addition to the Main Kit and Life Pages kit, I got the Life Pages Main add-on, the Life Pages add-on #3, and the Bits & Pieces kit. I can’t name a favorite this month. I love them all. The Life Pages cards were especially good this month. I  always like the patterned paper package in the Bits & Pieces kit, and so many of the other elements in the kits were just right up my alley.

The Best Day Ever card (Life Pages kit only):

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There are doilies in a couple of the kits this month. They come in a brown paper bag (so don’t miss them), and they come in such gorgeous colors. I got teal and pink, but I saw some people had yellow too. It probably depends on which kit you get. I cut a piece off of mine to use on this card.

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I also used two of the 2×2 Life Pages cards, a rub-on, a phrase sticker, a brad, and some buttons from my stash. Aren’t those colors so fun?

Happy Smile card (Main Kit only):

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I so love the gold acrylic elements in the Main Kit. They are so pretty. I paired one here with some stickers and a rubber embellishment.

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I trimmed the rubber piece down a little bit so it would fit better. Since they’re soft, it’s very easy to trim them down if you need to.

Tell me what you’re loving from the kits so far? Have you ordered any of yours yet? I’d love to know which one(s) you chose.

Again, here are the links if you need them:

March Main Kit

March Life Pages Kit

March add-ons

And the gallery links:

March designer scrapbook gallery

March designer cards and projects gallery

March designer Life Pages gallery

Winner! And let’s talk Christmas Cookies!

 

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Hey guys! I just wanted to pop in and let you all know who the winner was in my Christmas card giveaway.

The winner is Angie who said:

“Love seeing the things you create, Brenda! And these cards are beautiful! I especially enjoyed the last one :)”

Congrats, Angie! I’ll get your prize package out to you right away.

And since I’m here, I thought I’d share a few Christmas cookie recipes with you. Baking has been a huge part of my Christmas preparations this year.  Seems like a lot more than usual. I did a whole day of baking with my sisters, and then two days on my own. That’s a lot of cookies! But we’ve already taken a few plates full to various events, the children have some plans for sharing a few more at school, and a majority of them will get boxed up and given to neighbors. Plus, I’m signed up to bring some to our Christmas Eve service at church, so there’s that too. Cookies have a way of disappearing quickly around Christmas time.

There are always some favorites that I make nearly every year, and then there are always new ones to try. I’m sharing my current list below with links to the recipes whenever they can be found online, as well as thoughts and notes about the recipe.

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For my sister’s cookie bake/exchange I made:

Italian Christmas Cookies: These are a favorite of ours that I’ve made for the last several years. I’m not sure if this recipe is exactly like mine, since mine is in a cookbook, but it looks similar. The addition of the ricotta makes these cookies pillowy soft and smooth. They disappear quickly! Plus, they look pretty on a cookie plate with Christmas sprinkles on top of the frosting.

Peanut Butter Cup cookies: I love these! I love the peanut butter cups in them and they are yummy and cutel. I usually double or triple the recipe for these guys.

Date filled cookies: I couldn’t find a recipe online like the ones I make. Mine comes from an old Mennonite cookbook. The date filling is sandwiched in between two soft, chewy cookies, kind of like a hand pie or calzone with the edges pinched shut. These are another favorite. They are a little time consuming, so I don’t make them every year. But they are a special treat, and well worth the time it takes to make them. I can post the recipe for anyone who may be interested.

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Other cookies I’ve made so far this year:

Peppermint Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting: These were easy to make and very good. I love the crunch of the crushed candy cakes on top.

Christmas Monster Cookies: There are probably a million different recipes out there for Monster Cookies. The one I used came from a Mennonite cookbook I have. I make Monster cookies throughout the year, but I made them Christmasy by adding red and green M&M’s.

S’more Cookies: These are super easy, and so good! I use my own chocolate chip cookie dough recipe and leave out the chocolate chips. I also don’t use the stacker marshmallows. I just use half of a large marshmallow for each cookie.

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Butter cut-out cookies: These are our traditional ones we make every year. We began  making these when my boys were about two and four years old and have been making them every year since. My niece was sleeping over when we made them this year, so she and my daughter helped make most of them. Then she had to leave and my second son stepped in to help finish them off. As the kids get older, they’re no longer as interested in helping to make these. I don’t know how long yet the tradition will last, but I’ll enjoy it for now. Again, I can provide a recipe for anyone interested.

Chocolatey Melting Snowman cookies: These are fun, and cute, and delicious! Chloe has already claimed a dozen of these for her classmates.

Gingerbread Cookies: My paternal grandmother was not known for her baking (or cooking) expertise. But every year she would make molasses cookies. I think I was the only one in the family that liked them. These reminded me of her cookies when they first came out of the oven. This was my first time trying gingerbread. These aren’t my favorite, but if you like gingerbread, you will like these. They do look pretty all decorated up though.

Cream Cheese preserve Thumbprints: These are another favorite. You can use any flavor of jam or preserves. I used strawberry this year. You can also omit the pecans and they’re just as good.

Peppermint Bark Cups: These aren’t cookies, but I do plan to add them to any cookie trays or packages I make to add a little color and something just a little different. They are super easy, and they are so good!

I haven’t made these yet, but I have to share the recipes anyway:

Chocolate-Caramel Delights: These might possibly be the best Christmas Cookies ever! I’ve made them several times, but I’m stingy about adding them to cookie trays. 1. because we like them too much to give away. and 2. because they do take extra time to make and I want to make sure they are properly enjoyed :). I already purchased all the ingredients, so it’s just whether or not I can muster up any more energy for baking.

Candy Cane Rolls: Again, these are not cookies, but they have become part of my Christmas baking tradition. The red cherries can be a little tricky to find, and I normally don’t even like those candied cherries. You’re probably thinking “fruit cake” at the mention of those, but these are as far from fruit cake as can be. My husband requested these again this year, so I plan to make them for Christmas morning. A little more time consuming, since it’s a yeast dough, but they are really delicious and so pretty!

And that’s the extent of my Christmas baking so far this year! If you have any questions at all about any of these recipes, I’d be happy to answer them. I love being in the kitchen covered in flour and sprinkles. Baking has always been a huge part of Christmas for me, and I love passing that down to my family. Christmas treats are meant to be shared, so I love that part of baking, sharing them with family and friends. It’s and important part of the Christmas season for me. I hope you enjoy these too.

My Christmas shopping is pretty much completed,  (yahoo!!!),  and now I have a huge stack of gifts waiting for me to wrap. I’ll be back with a few gift wrap ideas tomorrow.

Hope you’re Friday is awesome!

 

 

 

 

Christmas Gift Wrapping Station

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Hello, friends!

It’s been quiet around the blog lately, I know. My week was packed pretty full last week, so this week has been spent trying to catch up on a few things around here in an attempt to stay on top of things and not get snowed under during the Christmas season.

I feel pretty good about how Christmas preparations are coming. I don’t feel overwhelmed yet. We have gifts to purchase and I have treats to make for neighbors, etc. But I feel relaxed and on top of my game, for once. Ask me if I still feel that way in a week from now. Ha!

I’ve been wanting to put together this gift wrapping station for a while now, and yesterday I finally got around to it.

I thought it would be great to keep all my gift wrapping supplies handy to wrap gifts as I purchase them this year.  Some years I’ve gotten so on behind in the gift buying and wrapping that I didn’t get them done until the night before they were meant to be given. Not only did I not take as much care in wrapping them and decorating them up all pretty. But they only were under the tree for such a short period of time. I love decorating gifts, but sometimes I just don’t have the time to spend on it with everything else that needs to be done. Having things all ready to go should help me tremendously.

I plan to share a few gift wrapping ideas throughout the next couple of weeks leading up to Christmas for your inspiration and enjoyment.

I picked up a few new rolls of gift wrap (see above photo) in reds, creams, black and white. For some reason plaids (or is it tartan?) are really appealing to me this year. I also love the red hounds tooth print. I think they look so fun all together, and I can’t wait to begin wrapping!

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I started out with an old Coca-Cola crate I’ve had for years. It’s a great size, and already has handy compartments in it for separating your items. Then I filled it all up with various things that I thought coordinated well with the gift wraps I had chosen.

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I chose some tiny bows in  colors that coordinated with my gift wraps. I love bows. Especially tiny ones like these. And also some snowflake ornaments.

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Most of these supplies I already had on hand from other years/projects. So I just went shopping in my home. One of the few items that is new this year is that spool of red ribbon. In fact, that spool of red ribbon inspired this gift wrapping station when I spied it at the store. I love it so much! I’m also including gold cord, brown twine, and red baker’s twine.

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And ribbons, of course! I’ve had that beautiful extra wide ribbon in my stash for years, waiting for the perfect project to use it on. I think it would look lovely wrapped around a package. I also pulled out some red striped ribbon, and some red and gold glittered ribbon.

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Floral picks. I love keeping these on hand to use for decorating packages. I can usually pick them up on clearance after the holidays and just keep a stash on hand of several varieties. Neutral colored ones like these are great because they go with everything.

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Tags are a must for decorating packages. I pulled out some printed ones from one of my Gossamer Blue kits from last season and some plain manila tags too.

I found that cute Merry Christmas stamp on clearance at TJ Maxx for just a couple of dollars. I also included some letter stencils that I thought would be fun to use, and some tiny clothes pins and tiny ornaments.

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How about doilies, photos, large gold letters, and pretty paper clips? I’m excited to see how I can use some of these on my packages.

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I also raided my stash of scrapbook supplies to find all sorts of pretty things I could use for package decorating. I found die cuts, chipboard pieces, printed tags, transparencies, stickers, etc.  I think I have plenty of things to use for making pretty packages. I’m sure I won’t use nearly all of these things. But it’s fun to have such a wide variety to chose from.

I can’t wait to begin wrapping!! I should go dig out those presents I have hidden before someone finds them.

 

Food on the brain, apparently!

I love Thanksgiving!! I love the food. I can hardly wait for stuffing (or filling, as it’s often called here in Lancaster) and sweet potatoes. I hope they’re on the menu this year. I don’t know, because I’m not hosting. My mother-in-law is hosting. But one thing I do know, is that anything my mother-in-law makes will be delicious. And I can’t wait to eat Thanksgiving dinner. It’s my favorite meal of the whole entire year.  And I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment. Am I right?

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? Have any that are a must have? Any that will find your way to the table just because they are tradition?

Since I have Thanksgiving dinner on my mind, I figured it would be a great day to share a few recipes I’ve tried this week that were big hits in our house. They’re not Thanksgiving foods, per se, but you could make them part of your Thanksgiving meal/day, if you wish.

~ Breakfast ~

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Since we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, let’s start of with this recipe for slow cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats. The fact that I could mix these up in my crock pot the night before and wake up to breakfast already made was just awesome to me.  I have one in our family who isn’t a fan of steel cut oats, so he was not impressed by this dish at all. But all the rest of us steel cut oats lovers thought these were amazing. They tasted a bit like apple crisp. I added a little bit more liquid to make sure it would’t burn overnight, since this was my first time trying it out. But I don’t think i would have needed to.

You could make this the night before Thanksgiving and wake up to a healthy and delicious breakfast already made. It’s a great time saver. especially if you already have a lot of other food to prepare.

~ Dinner ~

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I made this recipe for Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Creamy Polenta for dinner one night this week, but it totally could work as a nice alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Especially if you use turkey thighs instead of the chicken. And especially if you’re only cooking for about 4 people. I love polenta. It’s easy and quick to cook, and is a nice alternative side dish to potatoes or rice. The mushrooms were so good, and the entire dish together was amazing. Serve with a tossed green salad and you’re good to go!

~ Dessert ~

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I don’t make many desserts besides baking once or twice a week. These Lunch Lady Brownies taste almost like another recipe I’ve made before that my husband tells me I’m no longer allowed to make, because they’re so good! If you do make these, be sure to have lots of people around to share them with, because you will be tempted to eat the entire pan. And we can’t have that, can we?

Just to give you an idea of how delicious these are…I’ve been putting these in my kids’ lunch boxes this week, and today my son came home and asked how he could hide his brownie at lunch time. Apparently he has a few classmates who like to steal them. If he doesn’t eat his brownie at first break it gets taken out of his lunch box while he’s eating his lunch. Haha!! We’re not mad. We know these kids and they are his friends. It’s just funny that they know to take his desserts. Maybe their moms need to bake these so they stop stealing them from my son. 🙂

And you can’t speak about food and Thanksgiving dinners without thinking about decorating your table. Since I’m not hosting, I didn’t bother getting out my Thanksgiving table decor this year. In fact, I’ve already begun to decorate it for Christmas. But in case you need an idea and maybe are new to my blog since then. here’s a link to my thanksgiving tablescape from last year.

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Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you all have a lovely weekend. I will be back next week with more projects I’ve been working on, as well as some ideas for Christmas. I can’t wait!

Happy weekend!

 

 

5 on the 5th, a little late

Oh hey there! This month is slipping on by way too fast. So fast that I am having a hard time remembering which day it is. Which must be why I completely forgot to post a 5 on the 5th post. Because the 5th just went on right by me and I didn’t even notice!!

I’ll get this 5 on the 5th thing down sometime. Maybe even sometime this year!

So anyway, here are my five things on the 5th, just a couple of days late.

5 paper crafting trends I’m loving (and may never tire of):

  1. watercolor. I seriously love it so much that I can’t imagine not loving it forever. And there are a million ways to incorporate watercolor in a project, so I think maybe I will not tire of it any time soon. These watercolor ideas by Jen KinKade are awesome.
  2. Woodgrain. I have loved this trend for quite some time. I love using different woods in my household decorating, so I think it’s just my style to enjoy the look of woodgrain.
  3. white everything. I love the clean, modern look of using lots of white. That is also something I incorporate into my decorating. Funny how that works. If you don’t know what your paper crafting style is, look around at the things you tend to purchase for your home or how you choose to decorate it. I just love this page by Marivi Pazos, and this card by Dana Fleckenstein.
  4. brush script. Love this trend. Hope it never goes away.
  5. Pineapples and citrus. This is a little trend I’ve been seeing a lot lately. Especially with summer themed products. I like it a lot. Although, I think for me it could go the way of the doily and the feather. I could tire of it if it gets overused. But for now I’m loving the freshness it adds to a project. Thinking about how I could incorporate citrus into a winter themed layout. 🙂 I already have some ideas.

Well, there’s my list of things I’m loving. How about you?