Hi friends, I am so sorry about my long absence from my blog. Life ran away with me and I am just now getting back to a normal routine, but I have missed writing, designing and sharing creative ideas with all of you!

My husband and I have moved to a new rental, which took about a month of my life.  First there was sorting, cleaning out and packing, then the move, unpacking and cleaning the old rental. We are starting to settle into our new home. We still have a few boxes to unpack and the hobby room, a.k.a my studio is still a mass of boxes and things to put away.

But in the midst of all this chaos, my dear sister celebrated a birthday! Birthdays in our families have always been very special, lasting more than a day and are spent doing activities that interest the person we are celebrating.

This year my sister chose to have homemade burgers and fries, play games and learn how to make a jelly roll! So, alas you see where our title comes from!

The three of us, my mom, sister and myself, spent Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, bantering and discussing life and baking, all while making our first jelly roll. I truly believe baking is an art form. It takes time, creativity, the mixing and matching of recipes to reach the desired effect just like a painting takes time and the mixing and matching of different mediums.

If you have never made a jelly roll you don’t realize the long process to reach your end product, but the results are quite tasty, though I think we decided we enjoy a regular birthday cake just as much; however, the learning of a new skill was the entertaining part.

So, on to the jelly roll. Our jelly roll was a spice cake with a cream cheese filling, but I am pretty sure if you search online you can find just about any flavor combination you wish to make.  I am not going to take you through our entire recipe but just share some of the important tips that make a jelly roll successful.

Tip one: separating eggs.

When you separate you eggs you must make sure you don’t get any yolk in your whites. If you do your whites won’t form stiff peaks when you beat them. The spongy consistency of a jelly roll comes from the fact that you whip your egg yolks until they are thick and you whip and fold in your stiff egg whites, making your cake very light, fluffy and full of air.

Tip two: folding in the egg whites.

When you fold in your egg whites you want to do so very gently, making sure not to loose the air that has been whipped into them. Keeping as much air in your egg whites as possible is what allows for your cake to be rolled with out falling apart.

Tip three: the pan.

Our recipe said to grease and flour your pan and then line it with parchment and grease and flour your parchment, we determined after doing both steps that your pan doesn’t need to be greased and floured if you are using parchment.

Tip four: baking time.

You do not want to over bake your jelly roll or it won’t roll up the way you want it to. Our recipe called for 11 minutes of baking time, but we started with 8 minutes and it was done! So reduce your baking time because you can always bake it some more.

Tip five: cooling and rolling of the cake.

When it came to the rolling of the cake we followed our recipe’s instructions exactly to make sure our jelly roll didn’t fall apart. The steps were as follows, remove the cake from the oven, cool for 3 minutes, turn the cake onto a damp tea towel that has powdered sugar sprinkled on it, peel off the parchment, and roll the cake from the short end along with the tea towel and let it cool completely.

Our spice cake jelly roll with cream cheese filling turned out wonderfully and was delicious! When you don’t have time to paint a masterpiece be creative in the kitchen! It’s the next best thing!

I am sad I missed the valentines day season on the blog, because I had lots of creative ideas for you. We won't miss Easter! Coming soon, Easter crafts and creative decorations.

My blog is a little late this week and I have to admit I am not feeling very creative at this moment. As an artist and a creator you often feel like you have to be creative all the time. It's what people expect. But artists go through ups and downs of creativity, just like the ups and downs of life. My plan this week was to talk to you about decorating in red, white and blue since the 4th of July is just around the corner, but instead I feel led to share some encouragement with you. Maybe we will get to the decorating a little bit later in the post or later in the week. At the moment I am just going where God leads me.

This morning I read the verse Psalms 139:14 “I praise you (God) because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your (God's) works (ME!) are wonderful I know that full well.” Such encouragement in that verse, especially in a time when I feel like I am lacking. Lacking in my creativity, lacking in my motivation, lacking in how I love others, lacking in job orders and much more.

God created me? WOW! God made me just how he wanted me! Amazing! God knows that I will have moments of creativity and moments when I am not so creative, but even then, God made me. He made me a wife, stepmom, artist, home-cook, introvert, quiet, a thinker, a creator, a planner, a problem solver and more. He knows who I am, he knows my sins and he loves me in spite of them. He gives me permission to be who he created me to be, because his works – which is every single living thing on this earth – are wonderful.

But do I give myself permission to be who he created me to be? Or do I hold myself up to an unrealistic standard, one that he has not put into place? Do I allow myself to just be me? No, I don't! I place expectations on myself and high ones at that. Ones that I am not sure God would never think to put there. Some examples are: I must do something creative every week or everyday, I must work at making new designs for Etsy every day to ensure I have sales each week, new and creative dinner recipes must be tried, I can't let my step-kids see me make a mistake and to everyone on the outside my life must look perfect.

Is that what God calls me to? Is that what God made me for? No! God calls me to be who he made me with my imperfections and all. I am wonderful in his eyes, just as I am! Yes, he wants me to work on certain areas, to allow him to refine me, to grow in selflessness, love, kindness, grace, peace, fearlessness, forgiveness and a lot more I am sure. But he has given me the ability to learn those things. Its all part of being fearfully and wonderfully made and being chosen as one of His children. Its part of his wonderful plan for me. But while I am learning and refining, he is loving me unconditionally and he wants me to be who he created me to be.

Can you give yourself permission to be who God made you to be? Can you accept the truth in Psalms 139:14 despite what anyone else tells you? That He loves you, that He created you just as He wants you to be and that you are one of His wonderful works?

I hope that you can! No, you won't accept it perfectly everyday, but I hope you will join me on the journey of allowing this truth to grow in you until you accept it as fact. God loves you, just as you are, where you are, in the midst of the circumstances of your life!

Be sure to check out my Etsy store for inspirational digital prints. www.bethannerickson.etsy.com

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