Sunday, May 31, 2015

Embracing Changes and Moving On



Hello everyone.  I know it has been three weeks - THREE WEEKS - since I last posted on my blog.  In that time I have done a lot of soul searching and introspection, and made a few changes based on those activities.

I decided to let go of Bitten By The Bug 2.  I have been on the Bitten By The Bug design team since being part of Regina Easter's original team - since December of 2008.  I succeeded Donna Mundinger and Carole Lowe Beath as the team leader in the fall of 2012.  And while I love BBTB2, I have not been doing a good job as leader of the team for sometime.  So I decided to move on....

Looking at the last three years of my life, there has been so much change and so many stressful events.  BBTB2 was, for a time, a nice creative outlet for dealing with the stress.  But more recently, BBTB2 had become a chore for me.  I was not making time for myself in my craft room and I have struggled with many stress factors.



The biggest stress factor in my life at the moment is NOT my mom's Alzheimer's and her living with us, but is actually Doug's current state of unemployment.  Doug has laid off several months ago.  His layoff combined with our other stress factors have caused us both to have bouts of depression.  We are now trying to focus on the positive and let go of anything that distracts us from the positive, and for me that includes BBTB2.

I know that the depression is about more than job and crafting.  It involves several other factors in my life, including feelings of abandonment by many of my friends.  I realized that I have felt alone and unsupported by those beyond my family and bff.  



I was asked by Diana Larson to pass the team along to her instead of closing the design team.  So BBTB2 will be seeing some changes in leadership, team make up, and rules in the coming weeks.

The highlight of the last four months of our lives has, of course, been our beautiful granddaughter, Avaleigh.  I have loved having the ability to spend so much time with this sweetie.  I am praying that she will be spending her days with me next school year too.

  Thank  for stopping by and for reading about my resignation and depression.   Life will improve!


Monday, May 11, 2015

Tea Time Gift Bag



Hello friends.   Welcome to this week's Bitten by the Bug 2 challenge.  I am once again hosting the challenge.  As most of you know, I do enjoy tea parties.  I have always enjoyed tea parties.  I clearly remember my mother and I having tea parties with my little china tea set before I was old enough to for school.  I cannot remember if we really drank tea, but I know we used my childhood tea set and that we always had cookies.  My mother was wonderful about letting me serve us, and my brother was never invited!  

As an adult I still love tea parties.  I host semi-annual teas for some of my friends, really as an excuse to come together and enjoy one another's company while using dainty dishes and dining on "girly" foods.  



With all of this fascination with tea, it seems natural that I chose Tea as this week's Cricut cut challenge.  I challenged the design team, and all of you, to use a Cricut cut Teapot or Teacup on a project.  I made this decorated gift bag, but the other Bitten by the Bug 2 design team members made adorable cards.




I used three cartridges to create this gift bag:  Anna Griffin Splendid Soiree, Folk Art Festival, and Ribbons & Rosettes. I cut the bottom two doily layers with the Anna Griffin cartridge.  I used a subtle gray and white print to cute the rosette in the middle of the doilies.  And finally I cut the teapot and tea cup with Folk Art Festival.  The little teapot to/from tag tied to the bag handle was also cut with the Folk Art cartridge.

I cut three one and one-quarter inch strips of the gray print card stock to create the ribbon that wraps around the bag.  




Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope that you join us in this week's BBTB2 challenge and create your own tea project.  Be sure to check the sidebar at Bitten by the Bug 2 before you link in your new project.





This month is National Scrapbooking month and as such, Close To My Heart is offering an exclusive fruit themed paper pack called Taste of Summer for only $8.95. 




Not only are they offering an exclusive paper pack for May, but they have also designed a coordinating stamp set that is also available for purchase.  The stamp set is also called Taste of Summer and is $17.95 and like the paper pack only available this month!





Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Loving Strawberry Season


Hello everyone.  Today we are taking a break from paper crafting to talk about breakfast and strawberry season.  We are "smack dab" in the middle of strawberry season here in South Carolina.  My only problem with Strawberry season is that it is far too short.  As the berry crop began to come in locally, I created a new Pinterest board aptly titled Strawberry Season!  I pinned some really yummy looking strawberry recipes, including these WONDERFUL Strawberry Biscuits.  



So far this season we have had strawberry cobbler and a lot of strawberry shortcake variations - sometimes with ice cream, sometimes on home made biscuits, all with real whipped cream!  As much as we have enjoyed our strawberry desserts, I thought it might be nice to try strawberries for breakfast, other than in my yogurt.  I had pinned three strawberry recipes that looked promising, scones, muffins, and this biscuit recipe.  Well we may never try the muffins because this recipe was THAT good.




Strawberry Biscuits
(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 cup chopped very ripe strawberries
1 cup heavy cream (I used fat free half and half)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add butter and cut it in to the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the strawberries carefully, so they get coated in the flour mix. This keeps them evenly distributed in the dough later when you add the liquid. Speaking of liquid… add the heavy cream, then gently fold all the ingredients together. You don’t want to overwork the dough, so don’t worry if everything is completely worked in. It will be.
Generously flour your counter or cutting board, then transfer the dough to the board. Flour the top of the dough and with your hands gently press the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter (or even the top edge of a drinking glass) cut circles out of the dough. Press straight down without twisting (this makes for nice layered edges) as you cut. Carefully transfer the biscuits to prepared baking sheet, leaving a few inches between each one.
You can re-roll the scraps of dough, and continue cutting circles, but don’t worry if the dough appears very wet. The strawberries will have already started to release some of their juice. That’s okay though! They’ll still turn out beautifully.
Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes, until lightly brown at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, brush on the butter recipe below, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm.




I made a quick strawberry butter to slather on top of these beautiful biscuits. Just mash up two large strawberries into 4 TBLS soft butter, then freeze for about 15 minutes. (You can do this while the biscuits bake.) It’s a tiny detail that will make a world of difference in flavor.


My mom, Doug, and I all enjoyed the biscuits for breakfast AND lunch.  John took one home as an afternoon snack when he picked up Avaleigh.

Speaking of Avaleigh - this is from her latest photo shoot. John and Bethany have a variety of funny little costumes for her. This is their little fox pup!  

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!!!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Mother's Day Card


Hello everyone.  Since next Sunday is Mother's Day, our lovely Design Team sister, Caroline, at Bitten by the Bug 2 challenged us to use our Cricuts this week to honor mom!  Such a perfectly timed challenge too.  

I used one Cricut cartridge, a Cricut basic square, and an SVG lace cut to create this floral card for mom.  Every year since I was about 13 I have either given or sent flowers to my mom on Mother's Day.  The first time I did this I road about 8-9 miles on my bicycle to the florist and brought the flower arrangement home - hanging from the handle bars (fortunately I chose a basket as a container).  I then sneaked the flowers into our basement and hid them until the next day.  This process became much easier when I was old enough to drive!  

As I embraced paper crafting mom's annual floral arrangement began to include a floral card as well.  This is mom's card for this year.



As I stated above, I used one Cricut cartridge to create this card, a Cricut basic square shape, and an SVG cut.  I used Cricut Design Space software and my Cricut Explore.  The cartridge I used is 3D Floral Home Decor.  I used the Wall Art 1 branch of flowers.  I copied and pasted the cut, changing the size slightly and reversed the direction of the flowers to accommodate my design.  

I made the base card using the Circut basic square shape.  I resized the square to make the 5.5 x 8.5 inch base card.  I love that the Cricut Explore scores my cards for me.  Add a score line and attaching it to the card is as simple as two clicks of the mouse!

The Battenburg lace card front was cut with the Explore using an SVG cut.  I resized the cut slightly to fit the front of the card.

The card was stamped with the Close To My Heart Flowers For Mom stamp set.  I added ribbon loops as well as pink and clear gems as accents to the card.   


I hope that you find time this week to work on a project for a mom that is special to you.  If you do, please join us in the Mother's Day challenge at Bitten by the Bug 2 this week. You know we love it when you join our challenges!

Thanks for stopping by today.



This month is National Scrapbooking month and as such, Close To My Heart is offering an exclusive fruit themed paper pack called Taste of Summer for only $8.95. 



Not only are they offering an exclusive paper pack for May, but they have also designed a coordinating stamp set that is also available for purchase.  The stamp set is also called Taste of Summer and is $17.95 and like the paper pack only available this month!




Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy May Day




This month is National Scrapbooking month and as such, Close To My Heart is offering an exclusive fruit themed paper pack called Taste of Summer for only $8.95. 



Not only are they offering an exclusive paper pack for May, but they have also designed a coordinating stamp set that is also available for purchase.  The stamp set is also called Taste of Summer and is $17.95 and like the paper pack only available this month!