Adventure with Creativebug

“I won!!! I won!!” read my Facebook post last August. As a devoted reader and follower of Meg Cox and her Quilt Journalist Tells All newsletter and blog, I entered her contest with the fabulous prize of a 6 month FREE subscription to an instructional craft site… Creativebug, and…. I WON!!! Without further rambling… here’s my review and thoughts on my Adventure with Creativebug.

I never win any thing, so imagine my surprise when I got the email from Meg Cox with the good news! For you folks who are as crazy about quilting as I am, go check her out. She reports all the happenings in the quilt world, not to mention in addition she’s the author of two great books, The Quilter’s Catalog AND Family Traditions. You need to have both of them on your bookshelves.

Any way… I won the honor of running around the Creativebug website for 6 whole months… for FREE!!! Be still my beating heart. This site is a crafter’s dream come true. Taking classes at your own convenience, in your jammies, with all of your own supplies at your finger tips. I also like that you can sit and view the class, then think about your project, gather your supplies, then watch the class again and actually make the item this time.

We had a harsh winter here in the Northeast, and I was delighted to be snowed in to spend as much time as I wanted to try my hand at a new craft, brush up on one I was rusty in, or just view one I wanted to learn ‘how they do that’.

I was bowled over with the quality of their videos and the knowledge of the instructors. Some I had never heard of, but trust me when I tell you Creativebug sought out instructors that are tops in their field. Come on! Kaffe Fassett teaching me quilting in my own home???? SWOON!!! Beyond my wildest dreams!!!

While stalking the site I was amazed at the wide selection of techniques offered. No craft is off-limits, and there is something for every one at every level. As a beginner jewelry maker, I viewed the class on making wire links. I dabble in journaling, so my pens and markers got a good work out following one of Creativebug’s journaling Work-A-Longs. My mother was a sewing instructor so I learned that skill as soon as I could reach the throat plate and the foot pedal at the same time, yet I watched the classes any way… and still learned a new tip or two.

My favorite classes on the site were the ‘Work-A-Long’ classes. They are more intensive classes taught over a four-week or so period. Not only did I learn more from this style of teaching, but it creates a ‘habit’ and makes me continue with this craft once the class is finished… oh, and it gave me something exciting to look forward to, AND (I am sure this is what the marketing gurus at Creativebug were hoping for) this style of class had me click on their site more regularly.

I found the classes to always be fresh, well produced and top-notch. New classes are added on a regular basis, so I was never bored. There was always something that interested me.

Now that I’ve told you how much I LOVED the site, let me take a moment to tell you what I didn’t love. There were a few hiccups when viewing a course, like not buffering, or freezing right in the middle of something, or the PDF of materials not downloading. Although those issues were annoying, I found them to be few and far between… plus easily rectified.

My major complaint was when my FREE 6 months was finished, but my Top Down Raglan Sweater was not. That’s when it dawned on me I didn’t actually OWN the class and therefore could no longer access it… without becoming a paying member.

I contacted Customer Service via email to ask if that is how the process works… and instead of getting a direct answer to my question, I was instructed (in a very upbeat and friendly tone) to upgrade to the premium subscription where I would have access to ALL classes. I hadn’t decided to continue the subscription as yet, so to me it kind of felt like it was a hostage situation… “Pay up, or you will never be able to finish that sweater”.

I replied, “So I’m guessing the answer is no? You can’t re-visit a class you have already taken once your subscription is up?” It took Customer Service 11 days (almost two weeks!!!) to reply… and I quote…

“Unfortunately, in order to watch the premium classes you will need to pay for the premium subscription. So you are correct. You cannot revisit classes once your subscription has expired. I do apologize for the inconvenience.

However, you do not need an account to access the free content we have available. If you wish to become a Premium subscriber, you will be granted unlimited access to our over 200+ workshops, for a small monthly fee.”

Now all of this might not seem so bothersome. After all, I have plenty of projects that aren’t finished, and I can find another way to use the left over yarn… HOWEVER… I was a bit taken aback when I went on to the Creativebug site this morning to gather information for this blog post to find THIS…

“We are very excited to announce that Keep Classes Forever has gone live on Creativebug.com!” 

Arrrggghhh! And guess when this was posted??? One day BEFORE Customer Service replied to me. Not that this new feature would be able to help me with my situation, but if they really wanted me to continue my subscription, that information would have most likely turned my indecision into a resounding YES.

Oh… and one more little bit of info that would have been the icing on the cake would have been to inform me about the lower monthly fee!!! Originally they were charging $9.95 a month… which has now dropped to $4.95. Don’t ya think THAT should have been mentioned in my email??? Instead I found out about it on my own. If I weren’t posting this blog today, I never would have visited their site again… never would have known… and most likely would never subscribe. Now I have food for thought.

Here’s the BOTTOM LINE…

Did I learn a lot?    Yes. Great videos with talented instructors.

Would I recommend Creativebug to others?    Yes. I am so thrilled with their classes that I am joining their Affiliate Program. Please check back in a few days to use my link to join them.

Do I think it’s a good deal?    Yes, now that the price has dropped. Plus there are a lot of FREE classes you can take without subscribing.

Am I going to subscribe?    Hmmmmmm…. Still undecided… but most likely yes. They just added a calligraphy Work-A-Long that looks enticing… PLUS I’ll be able to finish that damn sweater.

TIP: I would suggest you schedule a specific day and time for viewing and mark it on your calendar. You would be amazed at how quickly a week (or two) can zoom by without allowing time for crafting. At the new low price of $4.95 a month, if you schedule a class once a week, the cost per class works out to $1.24 each. You get a WHOLE LOT of quality instruction for less than a cup of coffee!!!

To start your Adventure with Creativebug please click on their logo on the right sidebar. They also offer a 2 week FREE Trial!!!! Click on the words 2 Weeks FREE in the side bar.

Have fun!!! And remember to ALWAYS create something special!

Single Girl Finds the Answer to Warehouse Shopping!

Loving Costco as much as I do, ( click HERE to read an older post about one of my shopping trips) I found I needed to figure out how to store produce without it going rotten before I could use it all… and I DID. Continue reading to find out how a Single Girl Finds the Answer to Warehouse Shopping!

Take a close look at the photos below. Both the raspberries and celery were purchased at Costco and have been stored in my refrigerator. They weren’t wrapped in anything special… just tossed in the refrigerator straight from the car.

Look how FRESH!!!

                            Look how FRESH!!!

Celery is still CRISP!

                            Celery is still CRISP!

How long do you think they have survived in my refrigerator? They weren’t purchased at the same time. The celery has been in there 3 times longer than the raspberries. I just finished eating the raspberries this afternoon and the last raspberry was as tasty and fresh as the first one.

The celery still was firm and crispy. I’ll be honest… I lost a few of the outer stalks due to age, but once I tell you how long they have been in the refrigerator I bet you will be AMAZED!!!

Are you ready? Are you sitting down? The raspberries were 3 weeks old!!! Yes, you read that right… 3 WEEKS!!! Not ONE had gone mushy or moldy. The actual photo was taken yesterday, right before I ate some.

The celery? Believe it or not, I purchased a cello bag containing 4 bunches of stalks on December 22, 2014. That’s 2 MONTHS ago!!! I’m not kidding!! The leaves are still fresh and ready to be tossed in to a pot of simmering soup and the stalks were tasty when spread with peanut butter as a snack the other day. Moist, crunchy, juicy celery goodness.

So how did a Single Girl Find the Answer to Warehouse Shopping???? I’ll tell you a secret… the answer has been on the sidebar for over a year on this very site. Go ahead, take a look, I’ll wait. Did you find it???Berry Breeze

For about 18 months I have been an affiliate of an item named BerryBreeze. No larger than a box of baking soda, you insert a battery and place it on a shelf in your refrigerator… then forget about it. Basically this little beauty sanitizes the air, but if you need more information than that please take the time to check out their FAQ page.

It really works!!! I have used it myself and am very happy. I feel comfortable purchasing mega-sized packages of fresh fruits and vegetables knowing I have prolonged their shelf life… without repackaging and freezing or canning them.

Where can YOU purchase one??? I’m glad you asked. Just click on the ad on my sidebar and it will take you directly to the BerryBreeze site… PLUS my affiliate code is built-in so I get credit for the sale! I have to warn you… it’s a tiny bit more expensive than I thought it would be, but considering how many hundreds of dollars of spoiled food I don’t have to throw out made me quickly realize it was a smart choice.

If you will notice, BerryBreeze is the ONLY item I promote. I’m obviously not doing this for the pennies I earn as an affiliate. No… I promote it because I know it works and want to spread the news. Hopefully it will be something you need too.

Bring on the Farmer’s Markets! I’m ready! Are you???

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti and Peas

I have declared February 12th the Official day of Spaghetti and Peas.

My husband, Walter Stanton Hunter, Jr. lost his fight with ALS eight years ago… the same amount of years he lived with this illness… eight, very long years.

As long as I knew him, he requested the same dinner feast year after year on his birthday. When most people craved an expensive steak, or a super dinner out on the town… my husband, without fail, asked me to cook a humble dinner of Spaghetti and Peas.

Spaghetti and Peas for dinner!

Spaghetti and Peas for dinner!

Why? I don’t know. It’s not like I didn’t serve this as an easy weeknight night meal. I did… many, many nights. That didn’t stop him from asking for it every year on February 12th… his birthday.

Oh the battles that would ensue at my dinner table over the side dish of peas!!! The kids despised them. One year I hit upon the solution… serve them to the kids FROZEN! Bingo… never a pea problem in our house ever again.

No meatballs, no sausage, just a good hearty homemade meat sauce… topped off with plenty of parmesan cheese. The garlic bread oozed buttery goodness down our arms and a salad to make the ‘mom’ in me feel the meal was somewhat healthy. This birthday dinner was repeated time and time again… without fail. Even when he was on a ventilator… I blended everything into a mushy paste… and down it went.

In the past few years my kids and I , along with a few family members and friends would remind each other to eat Spaghetti and Peas on the 12th in his honor. Last year we even posted photos on Facebook. This year… I stepped it up a notch and have decided to invite EVERYONE to join in the fun!!!

Here’s the deal… If you are reading this post I ask you to make a commitment to eat some kind of Spaghetti and Pea dinner on February 12th. I know, I know, I can hear you all now… you don’t like peas!! OK… serve something else instead. Heck, I don’t really care if it’s even spaghetti… the rules are really loose. Last year my son and I made lemon fettucine. Use your imagination! Be creative!

Make your commitment public!!! State your intentions by commenting below on my blog… … or on the newly created Facebook page.

Next… LIKE my new page on Facebook named… you guessed it… Spaghetti and Peas! Take a photo of your dinner and post it there. I promise we won’t judge.

THEN… and this is IMPORTANT… If you feel so inclined I ask you to make a donation to the ALS Association. The link takes you to the Greater Philadelphia Chapter… who were so helpful during our family’s stressful time. Please, and Thank You!

I can’t BEGIN to explain to you how much the ALS Association helped our family, and so many others in need. The money you donate not only goes to research… but also for supporting current ALS patients and families on a day to day basis. Honest!

LAST… Send this message out to everyone you know. Invite them to join you on February 12th for a Spaghetti and Peas dinner!!! Send it via Facebook, email, snail mail, hot air balloon!!! Let’s make this a BIG event… A YEARLY event!

Stan always wanted to bring awareness to ALS and how it affects families. If he were alive today he would have been one of the very first to have a bucket of ice water dumped over his head. Well… sadly, he’s not here. So let’s all bring awareness in his honor!!! Eat Spaghetti and Peas!

To that end… if you know me personally, you know I have been struggling writing a book about this time in our family’s life. It’s a hard book to get out of my head and down on paper… and I’ll be honest, there are times I just don’t have the strength to ‘get it done’. This morning I awoke with a new direction… I have decided to change the working title to Spaghetti and Peas Please. This simple change is making me see this book in a whole new light. It’s a story that needs to be told… and I WILL tell it!

Sooo…. What are you going to eat on February 12th????

SPAGHETTI AND PEAS PLEASE!

I Guess I’m Getting Old

Last week I called a friend of mine and complained I couldn’t get warm. My personal internal thermostat was set on ‘freeze’. Shivers were running through my body, even though I was wrapped in an afghan.

“What’s your home thermostat set on?” he asked.

“66 degrees.”

“What does the thermostat read?’

“66 degrees.”

“Well, Deb… then your house is 66 degrees. Turn the heat up. Most people our age have it bumped up to 70. My wife has our house locked in at 71.”

Ack!!! OUR age??? How insulting!!! After I thought about that comment for a minute, I realized he was right. Each morning when I look in the mirror, more and more I see my mother staring back at me! My face is aging. I guess I’m getting old.

The television volume is cranked up a few more decibels than last year, and I drive a few miles per hour slower than normal. My doctor suggested I lose the extra inches around my middle and my daughter asked if I was letting my gray hair grow in. I guess I’m getting old.

Burning the midnight oil to finish a project is no longer an option, and taking a nap on a rainy Sunday afternoon is heavenly. Loud noises and chaos make me cranky. I guess I’m getting old.

Store clerks call me M’am. Police officers don’t look old enough to shave. No one has offered me their seat on public transportation yet, but I bet that day isn’t too far behind. I guess I’m getting old.

The younger generation is shifting from Facebook to Instagram. I’m staying put. Of all the thousands of things my cell phone can do, I only use the camera, Google maps, and check email. I guess I’m getting old.

My flat screen TV monitor suits me just fine… I see no need to upgrade to the new curved, 3D, or supersize version. My eyes flutter shut before Saturday Night Live comes on, yet I’m wide awake for CBS Sunday Morning. I guess I’m getting old.

The next generation is in the wings, poised, ready to take over. I’m ready to step aside and let them. I guess I’m getting old.

I watch young families and reminisce about the good old days… how I was a mom with three young kids a long time ago. What fun we had when they were little. Oh how I cringe at the thought of all the money needed for their care… the doctors, optometrists, orthodontists, sports equipment, college education, weddings, and more. Thankfully no longer a problem in my life. I guess I’m getting old.

I have no responsibilities other than my own happiness. My fabulous kids are beginning their own families. I am the matriarch… the oldest living member of this little group. I guess I’m getting old.

It’s time for me to do what I want, to be selfish… to play… to travel… to paint… to quilt… to catch up with old friends. I want to skate on the lake when it freezes over, and paddle my kayak when it’s not. I can decide to ride my bike, or lace up my athletic shoes and take a walk… or simply grab my camera for a little one-on-one with the local scenery and breathe in the salty beach air. I guess I’m getting old… and thankfully still active.

There is still so much to see and do in this life. I may be a little slower, a little heavier, a bit more wrinkled with snow on the roof… but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Getting old is a privilege not given to every one. I guess I’m happy to be getting old.