christmas

Creme Brulee French Toast Recipe

BY TARA BURKE

Brunch food is one of our favorite things to make and each year one of our friend’s holds a Christmas brunch where we each bring our own dish. This year Cailin made a delicious creme brulee french toast that we just have to share with you guys.

IMG_9605

(more…)

Feature Friday: The Small Seed & Grace Supply Co.

Merry Christmas and Happy Feature Friday!

Since it is Christmas, we decided it’d be really fun to swap and share some Christmas memories with you all! We reached out to Lizzy Jensen of The Small Seed and Kristi Waite of Grace Supply Co., to ask them what Christmas means to them and to tell us about some of their favorite Christmas pasts. We loved getting to know why Christmas is so special to each of them. Both gals are doing some incredibly inspirational things, so definitely check out their sites in the links above and read on to learn more about them!

Screenshot (259)

@thesmallseed

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself and The Small Seed.

logo: My name is Lizzy Jensen, and 3 years ago I started The Small Seed, a non-denominational blog about faith. It was my way to put my own faith “out there” and to hopefully share the joy and purpose that following God has brought to my life. Now there is nothing that brings me greater joy than hearing how it’s blessed someone else!

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 1.15.56 PM

Castle Logo: What does Christmas mean to you?

 
logo: Christmas means two of my favorite things, celebrating the life of Jesus Christ, and giving to those I love! This year has been so special as my oldest is almost 4 and is really understanding the story of Jesus’ birth. When I asked her why it was the most important story ever she responded, “Because He loves us.” Out of the mouth of babes right?

Screenshot (262)

Castle Logo: Do you have a favorite Christmas memory or time when you encountered Jesus during the holiday season?

logo: About 10 years ago I served a mission for my church in Croatia. It was the most amazing time, and also the most lonely time of my life. I had so many times where I had no one to turn to but my Savior, but it was in the loneliest times that I learned that He is always there. My first Christmas I remember waking up extra early and kneeling to thank my Heavenly Father for the gift of His Son. As I prayed a warm and tender feeling washed over me, almost like a big hug, and I felt so much love from Him, and from my Savior. Although it wasn’t a Christmas where I was surrounded by family or friends, it will be a Christmas I always remember as one of the most special.

Screenshot (260)


 

mee

@waitkristiwaite

Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself and Grace Supply Co.

Screenshot (268): Well hi, my name is Kristi Waite! I’m a 25 year old fashion, life, encouragement and Jesus rules blogger. My main goal behind everything I do, is to help others or make others feel encouraged and reminded as to how awesome they are. I am also the owner and designer behind Grace Supply Co. Grace Supply Co is a small business I started about a year ago where I design and sell purses. My grandma taught me how to sew (she’s amazing) and I ended up loving it and found it a great stress reliever. I’m hoping to add other goodies like graphic tees and pillows in the next year. The best part is, 10% of each purchase is donated to our Veterans! I came up with the name “Grace” because of God’s seriously kick butt grace. Jesus is a pretty great dude. Oh and if you want to know a few other things about me, I LOVE Star Wars (you should see my bedroom), I drink way too much coffee, I want to save every animal on the planet and I love being outdoors. I recently started a monthly bible verse/encouraging goody subscription, so if you need a monthly pick me up, you should totally check it out, it’s free! Ok, I’d say that just about sums me up 🙂

Screenshot (266)

Castle Logo: What does Christmas mean to you?

Screenshot (268): Who doesn’t love Christmas? As long as we remember the true meaning behind it and don’t let the stress of finding the perfect gifts get in the way of how awesome Christmas is, it’s the best. I mean how cool is it that Jesus came to earth for each and everyone of us, He came to bring joy and show us His great love. Jesus came to earth to die on the cross for all of our sins. Holy moly, that’s crazy and awesome and shows us what God’s love really looks like. Besides all that amazingness, Christmas is the best time to love everyone, tell others about Jesus, give what we can and be truly grateful for this life. Christmas can be a great time for healing and renewed strength and is also the best time to eat a lot of cookies, ham, pie and other good food. I love food.

Screenshot (265)

Castle Logo: Do you have a favorite Christmas memory or time when you encountered Jesus during the holiday season?

Screenshot (268): My favorite Christmas memory where I encountered Jesus wasn’t exactly on Christmas but happened a few weeks ago. I walk my dogs everyday and had made friends with an older couple down the road, who are unbelievably cute. I noticed they were gone for a couple weeks and had found out my buddy John had a stroke. He was ok, but couldn’t get around without a cane, his eyesight was still poor and his left side wasn’t functioning 100%. BUT with all the problems he was facing, he was still as hilarious, happy and excited as he was every other day. I baked them cookies to bless them, but instead was invited over to hang out with them and I was the one being blessed. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? We want to bless others, but end up being the one that is truly blessed. Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness lead to the best friendships.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 1.15.13 PM

NYC Christmas Day

BY CAILIN BURKE  

Before we were to head home for the holidays, we wanted to have a stereotypical Christmas day in the city. Well… actually it was Tara’s idea, so we called it Tara’s Christmas Day! Since New York has amazing window displays, lights, and shopping this time of year, we wanted to devote time to see it all. Since we had already seen the Rockefeller Tree and I had been to both the Grand Central and Bryant Park Christmas markets, we already had a few things checked off the list. We started off the day by getting up as early as we could and had brunch at St. Balmain, a cafe in Brooklyn.

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender_2 FullSizeRender_1

FullSizeRender

After we were ready for Christmas shopping and made it to the only Christmas market I had yet to see, the one in Union Square. It was definitely the biggest market of the three and seemed to go on forever! They had a huge variety of booths, with some of my favorites being the succulent Christmas ornaments (our roomie bought one!), the different pastry stands (there were beautiful macarons and donuts), and the booths that sold a ton of knick knacks.

FullSizeRender_1 FullSizeRender

IMG_0950 IMG_0941 IMG_0958

FullSizeRender_1

After the market, we headed to the Strand bookstore, which is pretty well-known in New York, for being this cool secondhand bookstore that seems to last forever! Of course I couldn’t help myself when I found a great deal on one of my favorite authors, Irving Stone. I found three of his books, Lust for Life, The President’s Lady, and The Agony and the Ecstasy all together in one huge book, for only $9!

FullSizeRender_3 FullSizeRender_2

We continued our shopping escapade all the way down Fifth Avenue, stopping at cool stores like ABC Carpet & Home and Fishs Eddy. Then we went to see some of the biggest window displays, starting with Lord & Taylor which had an amazing animal-themed display.

FullSizeRender_2 FullSizeRender IMG_1011 FullSizeRender_1 FullSizeRender_4 IMG_1083

The best window had scenes depicted from famous novels with little mice everywhere. When you think of Christmas in New York, Macy’s in Herald Square also comes to mind and we were blown away by their window displays too. Each window was a different planet and it told the story of a boy who gets to see Christmas on each planet! We went inside Macy’s as well to write a letter to Santa and then headed home since we were so tired after going to Brooklyn, Union Square, the Flatiron District, and Midtown all in one day! Christmas in NYC is definitely a must-see!

IMG_1087 IMG_1077
FullSizeRender IMG_1057 IMG_1094 IMG_1095 IMG_1092 FullSizeRender FullSizeRender_1 IMG_1103 IMG_1099 FullSizeRender FullSizeRender_1 IMG_1115

Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting

BY TARA BURKE

Last Wednesday was the annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting in the city. Cailin and I had only watched the lighting on T.V., so we decided to stop by the area and check it out for ourselves after work. We had no idea if we were going to be able to see it since it attracts a large crowd of tourists and New Yorkers alike, but despite our doubts we headed straight to Rockefeller Center at 5pm. As we suspected it was crazy crowded and we couldn’t even get to the parts of the street where you have a view of the tree. Many of the streets were barricaded off and at one point my friend and I even got stuck on 50th St. as they wouldn’t let us exit onto 6th or 5th Ave! At that point we hadn’t met up with Cailin yet and we thought we may never do so since we were separated by the barricades on opposite blocks. Many of the blocks were being fenced off because of the protests happening about the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case.

IMG_0551

IMG_0550

After awhile we were able to find each other and managed to find a good spot to see the tree by going through the Rockefeller Concourse. Overall it was fun to listen to all the performances (we couldn’t see them from where we were, but they have a lot of screens placed on the buildings to watch them) and see the Today Show anchors in action. I liked Seth MacFarlane’s & Sara Bareilles’ duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” best.

IMG_0501

IMG_0500

IMG_0487

Once the show was over they counted down to the tree lighting and you could really feel the holiday spirit when all 45,000 led lights and the Swarovski Crystal Star weighing 550 lbs. flicked on! As always the Christmas tree was beautiful and it was fun to be in the mix of all the NYC Christmas festivities.

IMG_0552

IMG_0510
IMG_0534

IMG_0520

FullSizeRender

IMG_0669

FullSizeRender_4

Feature Friday: Crafting Extraordinaire Amy Wanford

BY TARA & CAILIN BURKE

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

unnamedCalling all crafters! If you love a good paper cutter, stamping, finding cute appliqués and just making beautiful things, this post is for you. We came upon Amy’s work on Instagram and loved her fun, carefully designed and sometimes quirky card creations. She has something to fit every occasion and design preference. Whether you are looking for something classically pretty or out of the ordinary she has a card for you. Crafting is all about trying new directions, medias and subjects. One day you can design a bag and on another you can paint wine glasses, which is why crafting is so great! You have room to experiment and find out what craft you’re best at. Amy has clearly honed her skills in card making and it shows in how professional her cards look. We could easily see any of her designs being printed and sold in major card retailers and we hope to see just that happen in her future! Check out her website, http://craftingconfessions.blogspot.co.uk, to see more of her work and see what products she uses to make her cards. Keep reading to learn more about Amy in our exclusive interview with the fabulous crafter!

What got you started?

I’ve always had a love for paper in various forms but I was hooked on card making in 2008. I visited a scrapbooking shop, (I’d never heard of scrapbooking before!) purchased a couple of stamps and inks and the rest, as they say, is history!

What are your inspirations?

It may sound cliché, but I find inspiration everywhere. I find it in trends, in advertising, in work, in people – the list goes on! I’ve been known to wake up in the middle of the night with inspiration striking! It’s good that I always have a little notebook on hand to scribble my ideas down.

14096091750_b9f38f4a2a_z

Who is your favorite professional in your field?

Oh you just can’t ask that question! I have so many! I’ll name a few, but there’s so much talent out there and so much to admire – that’s what I love about this creative community.

  • Cristina Kowalczyk wows me continually with her graphic designs.
  • Debby Hughes can make any media look amazing.
  • Iwona Palamountain has such a distinct style with so much attention to detail.
  • Jennifer McGuire teaches new things that have me saying “genius!”
  • Julie Ebersole not only has the most infection giggle, but such a wonderful style with a punch of humour.

What are your favorite medias to work with?

This is a bit of a toughie as it changes. I guess one media I always find myself working with is stamps. It’s what first hooked me into card making and there are so many different techniques you can play with by using stamps.

Apart from stamps, I’m often die cutting. I swear I must have one bicep bigger than the other given how much I do!

What is your aesthetic?

My comfort zone is clean-and-simple. I’m a sucker for graphic design and clever use of space.

14204806002_e350bffcd6_z

Name your favorite go-to creative spot?

I’m lucky. I get to share a room with my fiancé’s musical side so it’s great to sit at my desk and create with musical accompaniment. I always work at my desk as I’m surrounded by my supplies. It’s impossible for me to work elsewhere as I’d be running back and forth for materials – I very rarely create knowing exactly what I’ll require beforehand.

What are your future goals and biggest dreams?

Long-term I would love to make a living out of this industry. To create and earn a living would be a dream come true! Short-term I would love to find some time to sit and create some more clear stamp designs and actually learn more about digital designing. I’m a total self-taught novice and I often think that people must create in minutes what takes me hours!

6756046425_1c2194c2a4_z

What is the hardest part about what you do?

One word: Time! There’s never enough of it! It’s hard balancing a full time job with hobbies other than papercrafting. I often find that I’m feeling more creative at night, (I’m a night-owl) yet that’s the time I need to be going to sleep for work the next morning!

How has your work changed over time? What have you learned in your creative process?

My work has changed so much! At first, I was one of those pile-it-on-high card makers with layers and embellishments galore. It makes me cringe a little to think about it, but it’s all part of the creative journey. I then found my love for the clean-and-simple style.

More recently I’ve been inspired by the mixed media/collage style and love experimenting with different products. I think you learn so much from your creative process: what works, what doesn’t work etc…

12587745865_234eefacf6_z

What is the most memorable compliment you’ve received?

I don’t have a memorable compliment. However, I’m totally complimented by anyone who comments on my work, pins my work, or is inspired by my work in any way. I papercraft as a creative outlet and if it reaches anyone in a positive way then that’s a big bonus. 🙂

Tell us a little bit about who you are.

Although my name is Amy, most know me as Aimes and I’m a tea, toast and papercrafting addict. I work full time in education by day and papercraft by night. I currently live in Sheffield, England with my fiancé who is my resident technical support for everything!

Any tips?

Enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing then ask yourself why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for. Do what you love, love what you do!

I’d also suggest that it’s always worth trying something new every once in a while – it’s true when they say nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have to pinch myself sometimes to see my own creative journey and most of the fabulous opportunities come from taking chances.