January 9, 2011

I Knew You Were Coming, So I Baked You a Cake!


In this photo, my paternal grandmother sits on the front, right.  

Welcome one and all to Rook No. 17! My crafty little nest of inspiration is being featured at SITS today, which presents the perfect opportunity to welcome new friends and old, to show some old fashioned hospitality, and to give a little tour of my online "home". So, kick off your shoes while I cut you a slice of cake, and make yourself at home.



Here, please enjoy this slice of Chocolate-Marbled Banana Bread that I created just for this occasion! I know I promised "cake", but with all the holiday indulging and the subsequent New Years' Resolutions and all I figured I'd do us all a favor and offer up a reduced-fat/calorie treat! You can download a copy of the recipe HERE.


For a tutorial on how to make these whimsical glittered boxes
and an idea for inspired charitable giving, click HERE.


I love comments and enjoy getting to know and connecting with "Followers". If you like what you see during your visit today, please be so kind as to leave a comment and "Follow" Rook No. 17 by clicking the tab on my right-hand side-bar. As a gesture of my gratitude, one new follower will win their choice of these two hand-made glittered boxes pictured above.

This photo is of my husband's great-aunt 
and a college friend.  If the internet had been
around back then, I think they would have 
been SITS Girls!


If you're not visiting from The Secret to Success is Support  (SITS), you may be wondering what it's all about.  The SITS Girls are an online community of nearly 8,000 amazing women bloggers who support each other on their blogging odysseys by networking, sharing, and commenting.  In the year+ that I've been a member of SITS, I've met amazing women from all over the world, have been exposed to different perspectives, cultures, lifestyles, and passions, and have been inspired by others' stories on a daily basis.  I've had the opportunity to connect with other artistic souls as group administrator of a "Creative Living" tribe forum through SITS, and had a blast getting to meet many West coast bloggers face-to-face at Bloggy Boot Camp in San Francisco this past August.  

What better way to humble yourself before the masses than to reveal 
your most ridiculous picture? Yup, that's me -- sitting on a toilet that 
my family spotted out in the middle of a farmers' field on our road trip 
up the California coast. My husband dared me to run out into the field 
and pose for the pic and I accepted the challenge!

And now, for a more formal introduction: I'm Jenn, the "bird" behind Rook No. 17. This is where I share my original recipes, crafts, traditions, and special little touches I like to add to my daily life -- transforming ordinary moments into memories sprinkled with sparkle and joy!


Part of my professional background includes a successful stint designing unique cakes like these:






I share my culinary skills and passion with my readers with recipes like these:





1.  For the recipes & tutorial for making "bite sized" and "real sized" "BURGER CAKES" click HERE.
2.  I've devoted several posts to the art of Chocolatiering at home.  If you're a chocolate lover and would like to learn how to make professional looking confections at home, like these "CHOCOLATE DIPPED S'MORES ON A STICK", visit the Chocolatiering & Treats on a Stick section of my Recipe Box HERE.  
3.  Who doesn't love a donut?  Get the recipe for making MINI BAKED DONUTS at home HERE.
4.  In November I worked with a gourmet foods company to develop candy recipes for some of their more exotic ingredients.  Learn to make your own TRUFFLES AND CARAMELS at home HERE.
5.  In September I made some "POPCORN BUCKET CUPCAKES" for my daughter's birthday.  I created a free downloadable template for the bucket and shared it with my readers HERE


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I am a nostalgia nerd, and have collected antiques, ephemera, knickknacks and paddy-whacks of all sorts since I was a child. I have a nice collection of vintage postcards and other vestiges of a bygone era, and enjoy sharing them with my readers:



ABC Block Images



For more free clipart, graphics, and downloads, visit my CLIPART page HERE.


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Crafting, creating, and making something out of "nothing" is part of what makes me feel most inspired and alive. I love sharing the process, so that others can feel the same thrill when they create something on their own.


1.  For a tutorial on how to create your own custom line of drink and dinnerware using LAZERTRAN IMAGE TRANSFER paper, click HERE.
2.  I love vintage paper!  Learn to make PAPER MAGNOLIAS with vintage sheet music HERE
3.  Upcycling knocks my socks off!  Ever wondered what to do with those random baby socks once they've been outgrown?  I created a tutorial for transforming them in to PLUSH DONUTS HERE.
4.  I share a quick and easy tutorial for making a GLITTERED GARLAND HERE.

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As a parent, I've enjoyed delving in to my family history -- learning about the customs, traditions, and ways of my ancestors -- and sharing them with my husband and children.



I explored my  husband's Greek Heritage and recreated his lost family recipe for Greek "lasagna":  PASTITSIO.  Read the story and download the recipe HERE.


Every January 6 my family enjoys sharing our THREE KINGS DAY traditions with friends.  To learn more about Three Kings Day and for a recipe for delicious, family-friendly PULL-APART KING CAKE, click HERE.

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Every Tuesday I host a linky party called "A Little Birdie Told Me...".  I welcome you to come back tomorrow to link-up and share a recipe, craft, or project post.  Meet new creative people, get inspired, and strut your stuff!

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Thanks again for visiting!  I hope you enjoy your time here and will return soon.  I look forward to "meeting" you and exchanging ideas and inspirations!  


The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. ~William Blake

91 comments:

  1. Happy SITS Day! You are a woman of many talents! The recipes look delicious and I love the family photos sprinkled in. Fun!

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  2. Of course you baked a cake...and donuts...and biscotti...and timpano! And then you made us a German glass glitter welcome sign and while you were at it, whipped up a crown. Happy SITS Day!

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  3. I always feel so smart when I already follow the featured SITS blogger! It is great to see all your talented projects and amazing cakes in one post. Congrats!!!

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  4. Jenn, Happy SITS Day! You already know I love your blog and have tried your recipes. And they were super easy to follow. Hope you're doing well.

    Your friend,
    Sara at Saving For Someday

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  5. Congratulations on your SITS day. I hope it turns out to be everything you hoped for.

    You have so many incredible things on your blog. You are very talented. And your blog is lovely.

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  6. Happy SITS Day! I was looking for a chocolate banana bread recipe just last night and finally I found one that I want to make! Thx for the recipe!

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  7. Happy SITS day!
    I've seen your blog before when people linked to your wonderful crafts.

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  8. I love the picture of you on the toilet. And I want some pisatto.

    Happy SITS day!

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  9. Happy SITS Day! Chocolate AND low calorie/fat... you are singing my song!

    The pic in the field is too funny... wish we'd come across that when I was a kid... my MOTHER, yes, my mother, not us kids, was always having to pee in the middle of nowhere when we traveled growing up. We spent many a time pulling off into a cornfield... an actual toilet might have come in handy ;)

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  10. Um, I think I want to be you? that ok?

    Great blog, great resource, and I'm having a great time looking around.
    New follower! :)

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  11. So excited to find your blog this morning - Happy SITS day. Your food and crafts are incredible. We are snowed in today in Atlanta, so it is the perfect day to try one of your recipes. Another new follower :-)

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  12. I knew I was going to love your blog when I saw the recipe on the SITS site for your brownie filled peanut butter cookies!

    I, too, love to cook and consider it my passion!

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  13. Wow! I had no idea you were so dang talented. You don't only make AMAZING cakes but you also craft and do tutorials and your blog design is glorious!

    Way to go, my SITStah!

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  14. Visting from SITS. Great blog. I am your newest follower.

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  15. Happy SITS day. There is so much to comment about so I will pick one. Those are beautiful cakes. And thank you for showing the pic of your on the toilet. Why? Why was it in the farmer's field. That is what I like to know.

    LisaDay

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  16. Happy SITS day! So many great ideas!

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  17. As a lifestyle/interior design blogger I'm always looking for new and exciting blogs that teach me new things. Love that you like to make something out of nothing-free is my favorite price!

    Enjoy your SITS day!

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  18. Happy SITS day. All those pictures of crafts make me want to open the abandoned boxes of craft supplies in my basement and start creating.

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  19. Jenn! Happy SITS Day! Oh what a wonderful blog you have full of beautiful creativity. You are quite the talented woman! I think that I could spend hours browsing your blog. =) I did bookmark the post on chocolatiering being the chocolate lover that I am.

    I appreciate your comment about how making something out of nothing makes you feel the most inspired and alive. The reason is because I work with women every day who are so numbed out to life that they have no idea at all what brings them a little joy. Your creativity is a life-force that warms my heart.

    Also -- transforming ordinary moments into memories sprinkled with sparkle and joy!-- Love that!!

    Thanks for sharing so much! I signed up to receive your posts by email. Enjoy your day!

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  20. Holy Cow! So much pretty to look at. :)

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  21. Happy SITS day. I love your blog. I am your newest follower!

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  22. I have a few ripe bananas so that recipe will be tested in my kitchen. Happy SITS day.

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  23. Happy SITs Day to you!

    I'm amazed with the stuff that you make.

    And now I'm hungry.

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  24. Congrats on your Sits day! I was thrilled it was your blog!!! As always I am sitting here drooling over your baked goods --- Wow, that sounded kinda dirty. Alright, anyways - Congrats!

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  25. Congratulations on your SITs feature! I hope you enjoy your day in the sun:-)

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  26. I was excited to sign on this morning and see that you're the featured blogger! Happy Sits Day, my bloggy friend! You've got some guts posting a photo of yourself on the toilet for the entire world to see! ;)

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  27. Happy day to you! So happy for you. I've always loved your site. And I happen to have an obsession with confections that look like real food (burgers / popcorn) so you can guess I'll be making those soon!! Have a good one. =)

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  28. Jenn, you are brilliant. I am in awe of the sheer creativity that is pouring from this blog. I wish you every success, and I'll come back to see what new projects you've come up with! Congratulations on your SITS day!

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  29. Hi Jenn! Happy SITS day to you! You really are a 'Jane of all trades', aren't you! What a great way to showcase all your hobbies and interests via your blog.

    Your culinary creations are nothing short of FABULOUS! WOW, you've got some talent!

    ~heidi @ wonder woman wannabe

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  30. Hopped over from SITS today, but I'm a regular. Rook No. 17 has been one of my daily reads for a while now. I especially enjoy your paper projects.

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  31. Thanks for having me over - I love banana bread!

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  32. Not a newbie, just an old friend dropping by to say hello!

    I'm sure you'll pick up lots of new followers from SITS and they'll love your blog as much as I do!

    I absolutely love the toilet picture! You just can't pass up an opportunity like that!

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  33. Congrats on your SITS day! I love crafty people... they do what I wish I could. Have a great day. I'm pressing that follow button right now!

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  34. Congrats on your sits day!!! Your blog is beautiful, with so much info! Love it! Im' a big fan of the toilet pic - also, of chocolate. So i'm heading to your link for aspiring chocolatiers NOW! :D

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  35. Happy SITS day! You have so many awesome links! Definitely a new follower :)

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  36. When I saw the title to your blog, it took me back to my childhood days when my parents got together with friends to plan Rook.

    Happy SITS Day!

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  37. Wow, so many crafts and recipes! I could get lost on your site. I love the sock donuts. Those would be adorable at a baby shower.

    Happy Sits day!

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  38. I love the sock donuts you made with baby socks! That was so creative and i can't wait to make a few with mismatched socks for my daughters. Congrats on your SITS Day!

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  39. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwsome!!!! Happy SITS day, Beautiful!

    -CK

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  40. Congratulations on being featured -- you deserve it! Its delightful to have such a talented person (you!) sharing her recipes and information. See you Tuesday!

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  41. Woo Hoo! Congratulations on your SITS day! You totally deserve the recognition today.

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  42. All I can say is OMG. Those cakes with the Tennis ball and Spongebob....awesome. I'm a tennis fan and my kids love SpongeBob.
    But the greek lasagna, I'm excited about that. Amazing blog, thanks for finding SITS and congrats on your big day!

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  43. Love your blog!! So glad to see you featured by SITS today so I could follow!

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  44. Happy SITS day! What a great blog! I love your ideas and recipes, can't wait to see more!

    By the way, the "you might also like" section under the post featured your post about spaghetti tacos. I am going to check that one out right now, my daughter is an iCarly FANATIC!!

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  45. Happy SITS Day! What a lovely blog you have created. I will be back for more.

    Enjoy the comment love today,
    Hanneke

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  46. Happy SITS day!

    I'm pretty sure you're all kinds of amazing!

    I love all the old pictures, those are the best aren't they?!

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  47. Not visiting from SITS - but how nice that you are being featured there! Love all of the peeks at what you have done with crafts and baking - I will have to spend some time going and looking at each one!!

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  48. i have been following you since holly from 504 main... talked about you.. so happy sits day.... I was so glad I already new about you...

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  49. Happy SITS Day! Thanks for the Chocolate-Marbled Banana Bread!

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  50. Visiting from SITS! What a fabulously creative blog you have. I can't wait to follow and read more!

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  51. Happy SITS Day! I LOVE your cakes. I really enjoy decorating but I despise baking lol. I'm following now1

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  52. Congrats on your SITS Day! Well deserved and well done :)

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  53. I've checked out your plush play donut tutorial before and loved it. Made the perfect gift for my great-niece's play kitchens.

    Happy SITS Day!

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  54. Happy SITS day!! I love all your cake photos! And your recipes make me want to get in the kitchen and start cooking!!!

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  55. Congratulations on your day to Shine with SITS! I love your blog, you are really talented.

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  56. Yeah happy sits day! I love stopping by and seeing all your fun projects. I have yet to brave the stuffed doughnuts...

    I need to. Maybe a valentine's gift for my nieces?

    - theMRS.

    You can read a funny story about the time my husband bought beer on accident Here

    Or read my experiment going shampoo free Here

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  57. Happy happy day! Live it up, girl! Love the image of the birds on your header. And the glitter boxes - gorge!

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  58. I AM OBSESSED with Banana bread and will definitely be trying out your recipe!

    Can't wait to try out a craft project too.



    By the way, SITS introduced us! Happy SITS Day!

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  59. Holy COW! Those are CAKES?! That's crazy-awesome. I was only planning to visit from SITS, but I have to have more! I'm following you now. :)

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  60. Wow - you're a busy woman! What with all the baking and the clip art and the being a parent!

    Happy SITS day. I really enjoyed stopping by!

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  61. I hope you have a great SITS day!

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  62. Happy SITS day! I'm your newest follower. Looks like I'm going to spend a lot of time checking out your tutorials and such. Check me out at Ninth Street Notions if you like.

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  63. you are going to be a busy,busy girl with all these comments! congratulations on your sits day..yippeee!

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  64. Congratulations for featuring on SITS! It's my first visit here and also at SITS today and I'm loving it. I love your blog. So pretty and filled with talent. Those cakes are amazing!
    Thanks so much for sharing your life. Blogging is such fun. I'll be back here for sure...

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  65. What a great blog! Your cakes are simply amazing. Congrats on you SITS day.

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  66. Congrats on your SITS day! I was happy to see it was you!

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  67. Happy SITS Day! I love the term Creative Nesting!!

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  68. Happy SITS day!

    I like your photos *and* your cakes. OM NOM NOM NOM!!

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  69. Your blog is so CUTE! Can't wait to look around a bit more :)

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  70. Wow Jenn! Those cakes are amazing - and OMG! those popcorn cupcakes. You're lucky I like you because you clearly have so much more talent than me, it would be easy not to like you :-) or at least to resent you :-)

    Love the creativity. Glad I've already had the pleasure to "meet" you before this.

    Enjoy your day - I popped over from SITS.

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  71. Happy SITS day! You are so talented!

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  72. Happy SITS DAY Jenn!! I met you in SF -- you have a gorgeous site - I can tell how much love you have put into this project! I think the only thing left to do with your beautiful blog is move to WP (did we talk about that in SF???). And your cakes? Amazing!

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  73. Happy SITS day!! Your recipes look yummy!

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  74. Happy SITS Day! Great pictures today. I never cease to be amazed by your cakes and other culinary talents!

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  75. Happy SITS Day! You're remarkably talented. I'm in love with those glitter boxes.

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  76. Happy SITS Day! I love this blog and I am happy it is your day!

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  77. what a wonderful blog! I'm glad you got featured! Happy SITS day to you! =)

    i LOVE the cakes you bake. they are adorable!! =)

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  78. Oh wow - SO much going on here. Those cakes look incredible. Very excited to have discovered you via SITS.

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  79. What a FANTASTIC blog you have here! So happy to have found you - I'll be back often :)

    Happy SITS Day!!!!
    Linds
    {designer wife}

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  80. Congratulations on your SITS day! I like this post . . very creative! I'll be back tomorrow to link up!

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  81. Hooray for you Jenn!! (And to think, I beat SITS to the punch in getting to know about you.)

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  82. Congrats on your day, Jenn!

    You sure went all out. How can anyone top this SITs celebration? You are an awesome woman of many talents and I am jealous of many of them.

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  83. Wow! I'm so impressed! Where do you find the time to accomplish so much?!

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  84. Congrats on your SITS day! All the best!

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  85. I loved seeing you were the SITS girl...yea, I am fashionably late to the party...sorry! I am just a wee bit behind in just about everything.

    I just registered for the Bloggy Boot Camp up here in Seattle. I am so excited to be able to go, meet some great bloggers and learn so much more than what I know.

    Happy Tuesday!

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  86. I'm arriving late to your SITs day party! But I wanted to tell you that I love your blog and plan to follow along to continue watching all your lovely creations!
    I live in Spain and we celebrated King's Day and bought a cake. I even mentioned on my blog that I wanted to make a cake next year as it is pricey here and was glad to see your recipe, so I'm off to go check it out!
    Hope you had a marvelous SITs day!
    Blessings!

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