I’m Alyssa, a crafting and baking enthusiast. Case in point: my two favorite appliances are my Cricut Mini cutting machine and KitchenAid stand mixer.
My craft specialty is handmade greeting cards. A novelist of sorts, I always write my own heart-felt message in greeting cards, because I struggle to find a mass-produced card that expresses my personal sentiments. One day I thought, since I write from my heart, what if I also made something from my heart? So I started making handmade greeting cards for all occasions: birthdays, holidays, sympathy, invitations, congratulations (graduation, new job, wedding, baby) and thank you notes.
And I love to bake. I have an insatiable sweet tooth. No matter how full I am, I always have room for dessert. Also, baking suits my personality. I am highly structural: detail-oriented, predictable, and good at following directions. I’m not as skilled at being spontaneous and following my intuition, which I imagine cooking to be. While I prefer baking, I am in the process of learning how to cook, because I probably shouldn’t live off cookies and cupcakes my entire adult life…
I can’t exactly pinpoint when my love for crafting and baking started, but I do know where I get my inspiration from:
I’d like to think I got my mom’s creative gene. She always thought outside-the-box, whether she was helping me on a school project or planning a family camping trip. She spent hours making Creative Memories scrapbooks, and loved working on DIY home improvement projects, like refinishing an antique bedroom set that she bought at a yard sale.
I remember one time she made treats for my sister’s birthday party at school. My sister wanted to bring in for her class the popular “dirt and worms” dessert – chocolate pudding mixed with crushed up Oreos and gummy worms. My mom refused to make such a disgusting dessert, but came up with a dirt-free alternative. Instead, she mixed vanilla pudding with crushed up vanilla wafers, topped it with gummy bears and drink umbrellas for “bears on the beach”!
My mom’s creativity was more than just her original ideas, it was her grand enthusiasm. Once a light bulb went on in her brain, her eyes would brighten and she’d smile, talking a million words per minute, excited to get started. That’s one of the many ways I’ve aspired to be like her.
Let me just start off by saying that I was Mary Poppins for Halloween. I’ve been working with kids for almost 15 years. I started when I was 12 years old, watching my premature nephew when he needed more attention than they could give him at daycare. Since then, I babysat my two nephews every summer break in high school, worked as an after-care provider at a Montessori school and was a nanny throughout college. Even though I now work a full-time job, I still babysit nights and most weekends.
I am not the kind of babysitter who sits kids in front of the TV. In the highly-technological world we live in, I prefer to do hands-on craft activities. It’s an opportunity to practice fine motor skills and problem solving, exercise creativity, stretch imaginations and make a fun mess! Over the years, I’ve accumulated so many craft supplies that I’ve assembled a “craft bag” that I take with me when I babysit. It’s a hit with the kids, so much so that I get pouty faces and “aww mans” when I forget to bring it with me. Oops! We color and paint, but have also made gingerbread houses, paper flowers, jewelry and headbands, clothespin airplanes and a rocket jet pack. It’s really inspiring to see kids come up with their own creations!
I don’t even think this needs explaining. I love this creative community and all the inspiring ideas fellow bakers, cooks, crafters and DIY-ers share here. I’ve found the majority of my recipes on Pinterest, as well as ingenious life hacks, trendy outfit ideas, and plans for future craft projects.